Caspar Estate is proud to announce that our very own Julien Fayard has been named as Wine Spectrum’s Winemaker of the Year for 2021. Known as the “terroir whisperer,” a 100-point winemaker, winery owner, and avid surfer, Fayard is one of Napa Valley’s most respected consulting winemakers. His two decades of winemaking experience have had an enormous impact on Caspar Estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, from where the vines are planted to how the wine is made.

Julien Fayard was awarded this same honor in 2016, making him one of the few two-time winners. The quality, consistency, and breadth of wines Fayard crafts made him a stand-out once again. He’s considered a “master blender” and continues to show his winemaking prowess through his own labels as well.

“We’re excited to honor Julien Fayard as 2021’s Winemaker of the Year. Julien’s wines are highly sought-after and a pleasure to taste.”

—Glenn Siegel, President & Founder Wine Spectrum

French Sensibility in Napa

Originally from France, Fayard began his winemaking career producing quality rosé at his family’s winery in Provence. He worked at some of Bordeaux’s most noble wineries, including Lafitte Rothschild and Smith Haut Lafitte before relocating to Napa Valley. In Napa, he became Philippe Melka’s Director of Winemaking for eight years before launching his own projects and consultations. Fayard established his reputation as a winemaker with a light touch. He has an old-world sensibility, believing the soil, the climate, and the grapes should speak for themselves.

Julien Fayard’s Approach To Cultivar Wine

Julien Fayard is also the winemaker for Cultivar Wine’s only vineyard-designate wine, the Leaky Lake Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. A 100% cabernet grown above the fog line of Rutherford, Leaky Lake wines are a perfect match for Fayard’s winemaking sensibilities.  “The cabernet we grow there is extraordinary,” Fayard says. “I saw it rivals any of the mountain appellations in Napa—Howell Mountain or Diamond Peak—for boldness and character.”

Winemaker Julien Fayard standing at a bin of freshly harvested grapes

Fayard presses whole clusters of fruit for Cultivar’s Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon. He then transfers to 100% French oak for at least 24 months before bottling. “Even then, it’s good to allow the wine to develop in the bottle for another two years, just to bring out the aromatics,” Fayard says.

This is one reason why the 2016 Leaky Lake Cabernet is our newest release. And at a mere 90 cases, it’s one of our most limited releases as well.

Caspar Estate: Winemaking Done in The Vineyard

“As a winemaker, my job is to bring out the best qualities that the vines have provided. I don’t seek to make a style of wine but more so to make wine that sings of its place, its history, and its uniqueness,” says Fayard. “That’s my goal as a winemaker, to make wines that are pure expressions of their environment and not mask it. Wines with an identity.”

The Caspar Estate vineyard rests on a hillside overlooking Napa Valley. Planted above the Rutherford Appellation with an exposure 20 degrees off north. The site sees sun from early morning until late afternoon, ensuring even ripeness of the grapes. Cool nights help to develop firm tannins and fresh acidity creating remarkable structure and balance in the finished wines. Our rocky serpentine soils benefit from a mineral deposit rich in iron and magnesium. This distinctive mineral deposit provides layers of complexity and flavor to wines unique to our site.

Caspar Estate & Cultivar Wine is proud of all of Julien Fayard’s achievements. And with one sip of Caspar Estate wine, you’ll taste exactly why.

Caspar Estate wines are available by allocation only. To become an Allocation Member, click here for more information.