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james laube's wine flights

Annie and Andy's New Wine Act

Photo by: Greg Gorman

Posted: Mar 5, 2008 4:11pm ET

Husband-and-wife team Andy Erickson and Annie Favia bring some impressive credentials to their own wine company and are certainly worth following.

Erickson, 40, is a U.C. Davis enology grad who has worked for Harlan and Staglin and currently makes wine for Screaming Eagle, Arietta, Dalla Valle and Jonata and consults for Dancing Hares (a new 5-acre vineyard at the foot of Howell Mountain and wine label focusing on a Cabernet-Merlot-Cab Franc blend, due soon) and Ovid, a startup with its debut 2005 vintage due this fall.

Favia, 35, is a viticulturist who has worked for David Abreu (who works with many of Napa’s marquee vineyards) and owns her own firm, Libelula Viticultural Services, which manages Abreu and Screaming Eagle.

The couple met in Napa in 1995.

Enough of my name dropping of their credentials. I’ve liked and recommend all four of their wines I’ve tried in various blind tastings in the past week or so. They have two labels, Favia and Leviathan.

Favia Pinot Noir Russian River Valley La Josefina 2005 ($65; 275 cases): Firm and concentrated, with spicy cola, dried berry, sassafras and dusty sage and mineral notes.

Favia Syrah Amador County Quarzo 2005 ($65; 121 cases): Another impressive Amador wine, offering a tasty mix of plum and wild berry fruit and exotic spice and mineral notes.

Favia Rompecabezas (Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre) Amador County 2005 ($65; 73 cases): Complex aromas of cola, mixed dark berry, a hint of mocha, mineral and sage. (Rompecabezas means "jigsaw puzzle" in Spanish, according to Erickson.)

Leviathan (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc) California 2005 ($42; 700 cases): A dark, rich, savory style, with lots of ripe plum, berry, mineral and spice. Dense without being chewy.

"It's just an everyday, open it now kind of wine," said Erickson of Leviathan.

Andrew J Walter
Sacramento,CA —  March 5, 2008 6:43pm ET
Wow...a $65 wine from Amador and a $42 everyday wine. I guess when you deal with Screaming Eagle and harlans thats a bargain but ouch on the old wallet. That being said, it is good to see the Foothills begining to strut their stuff with the rhone varietals--credit that is long overdue.
James Laube
Napa, CA —  March 5, 2008 6:52pm ET
I've had the best Amador wines in the past few months that I've had in years.
Andrew J Walter
Sacramento,CA —  March 5, 2008 11:12pm ET
And I've bought all that you reccomended and then some (thanks!)...they have all been just delicious, esp the Prospect 772 and 4 Vines. I may have to pass on the Quarzo and Rompecabezas though -- thats a bit much
Bryan Bucari
Baton Rouge, LA —  March 6, 2008 1:10am ET
James, I have had all the wines on my wine lists since last vintage. They are really some wonderful wines, and there is no reason to pass on any of them. Andrew the syrah is unbelievable; it possesses every single aspect that you can taste in a great syrah. It is a beast of a wine yet has such grace. Also check out the La Magdelena (sorry if the spelling is wrong) which is about a 80 cab franc/ 20 cab sav for the same price. They definately do one heck of a job, and I agree with James' recommendations on these.
David Hebert
Holly Springs, NC —  March 6, 2008 8:24am ET
I bought several bottles of the 2004 Leviathan last year just to try another "Erickson wine". I loved it.....then again, maybe I'm biased....I like most of Erickson's stuff. He's right....open it/drink it now kinda of wine with his winmaking skill at a price most can afford.I have also bought several 05 bottles.....I guess I'll try one tonight.Thanks for the recommendations, James.
Troy Peterson
Burbank, CA —  March 6, 2008 11:26am ET
I had the 2004 Leviathan back in June 2007 and gave it a 92 (got it for $38). It drank real well with a brief decant. They're accomplishing their mission with this one.

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