Robert Craig’s wines are known for pure site expression. Most Cabernet bottlings are appellation-specific: Howell Mountain, Mount Veeder, Spring Mountain, Diamond Mountain. Affinity is a 100% estate-grown single vineyard bottling. Craig’s estate vineyard is the La Londe property, in the Mount George foothills just south of Stags Leap District, in the southern end of the Vaca Mountain range. The 30-year-old vines, planted in remarkably sparse and rocky volcanic soil on the benchland, are naturally low-yielding. They bear only 2.8 tonnes of intense fruit per acre.
At the winery, handling is gentle and intervention is minimal. Fruit is fermented in small lots by indigenous yeast, matured 18 months in French oak (60% new, the remainder second use), and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The 2015 certainly reveals the pure pedigree of the La Londe vineyard. This is a wine with great depth, richness, and balance: opulent flavours of black raspberry and blackcurrant are introduced by aromas of licorice, incense, and spice box. It’s an alluring glimpse at what’s to come; the wine will unwind a bit over a decade, at least.
“Very pretty stones, oyster shell, blueberries and underbrush character. The palate is very composed with lots of bright, tangy fruit, grainy tannins and a minerally yet at the same time fruit-driven finish. A unique wine. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec and petit verdot. Drink in 2020 even if delicious now.”
94 points, JamesSuckling.com, Dec 2017
“The entry-level wine is the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Affinity and it just about always delivers. I’m just now finishing cases of the 2003 and have enjoyed every bottle. The 2015 is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and the balance Malbec and Petit Verdot, all of which spent 18 months in 60% new French oak. With a deep purple color and beautiful notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, graphite, and scorched earth, this beauty is medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated, and balanced, with good acidity and ripe tannin. Drink it anytime over the coming 10-15 years.”
92 points, Jeb Dunnuck, Dec 2017