AD VIVUM is a single-vineyard, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon crafted by Chris Phelps, a long-time Napa Valley winemaker who has earned a reputation for his ability to consistently produce unique wines that honestly reflect the terroir of their vineyard origin.
Winemaker Chris Phelps grew up in the hills of the Livermore Valley, east of San Francisco, in a family of wine lovers. His early interest in winemaking grew out of his parents’ practice of making a barrel or two of Zinfandel or Cabernet for family and friends. Chris attended UC Davis with the sensible plan of becoming a doctor. However, his love of wine and France pulled him into the school’s Enology and Viticulture program, an internship at Louis M. Martini in Napa Valley, and the world of professional winemaking.
Chris then embarked on a 16-month sojourn in Bordeaux, which began with a year at the Institute of Enology. He met Christian Moueix, who persuaded him to stay on to manage the 1982 harvest at Château des Laurets, in the Puisseguin-St. Emilion district of Bordeaux. It was during this trial-by-fire experience that Chris met his mentor, the brilliant Jean-Claude Berrouet, who served for 44 years as the winemaker of Chateau Pétrus. To this day, Chris still credits much of his inspiration as a winemaker and his solid understanding of the technical challenges of the winemaking craft to Berrouet’s tutelage.
Upon returning to Napa Valley, Chris spent twelve years as winemaker at Dominus, as part of the Berrouet-Moueix team. He considers the 1991 and 1994 vintages to be among the greatest wines he has helped to create. He then spent seven years at Caymus Vineyards, managing all red winemaking from 1999 through 2002. Swanson Vineyards then persuaded him to join them as winemaker for 12 years, setting the stage for that winery’s current renaissance. Chris, who lives with his family in St. Helena, continues to shape wines of great balance, refined texture and singular aromatic and flavour profiles that evoke their place of origin.
2017 Ad Vivum Cabernet Sauvignon – Sleeping Lady Vineyard – Napa Valley.
$275 per bottle – 10 x 6 packs available.
94 Points Vinous.
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Sleeping Lady Vineyard captures all of the natural richness of the year. Succulent red cherry, plum, mocha, spice and licorice all develop in the glass, but the 2017 is, more than anything else, a wine of volume, textural intensity and darkness. The tannins are a bit coarse, but that is a signature of a year in which severe heat caused some blocking of phenolic maturation.
93 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Sleeping Lady Vineyard was aged for 17 months in French oak, 70% new. Deep garnet-purple, it offers up fragrant notions of blackcurrant pastilles, dried mulberries, preserved plums and chocolate-covered cherries with suggestions of Chinese five spice, underbrush, dried Provence herbs and black truffles. The palate is full-bodied, with a satisfying mid-palate and a solid backbone of ripe, grainy tannins supporting the generous fruit, finishing long with an herbal lift.