New Occidental Pinot Noir release from Kistler. Limited.
95 Points Wine Spectator: "Offers lots of energy, with a burst of plum and blackberry fruit backed by bouncy anise and bramble accents, all carried by fresh, lively acidity. Light savory details add range on the finish, as the fruit takes an encore. A bit showy in style, but most folks won't complain about that. Drink now through 2030. From California."
previous vintage 95+ Points Robert Parker: "The Pinot Noir Freestone-Occidental comes mostly from younger vines at the Occidental property but is made with the same attention to detail as the other wines in the portfolio, using free-run juice. Its nose is an aromatic well, offering crushed blueberries, charcuterie, Earl Grey tea leaves, graphite, saline, bitter orange peel and potpourri aromas. In the mouth, it explodes with lush fruits that give way after their initial rush to bitter, citrusy, minerally accents. It has a fine grain, seamless freshness and long, layered finish. It's enjoyable now but will age well over the next five to eight-plus years."
previous vintage 94 Points Antionio Galloni (Vinous): "The Pinot Noir Freestone Occidental is a truly remarkable wine. Maybe that is the vintage, or the added complexity the vines are acquiring with time, but the Freestone Occidental makes me incredibly curious to taste the rest of the 2018s. Bright, focused and beautifully sculpted, the 2018 is a wine of total elegance and finesse. Moreover, it captures the savory, energetic, saline style that is so typical of this part of the Sonoma Coast."
Occidental is Steve Kistler's new Pinot Noir project, which is starting essentially as a spin-out from Kistler Vineyards. Steve Kistler remains CEO of Kistler Vineyards and very much in charge of day to day operations. At the same time, Kistler understandably wanted to manage a small project of his own with an eye towards his two younger daughters who will one day run Occidental.
New vintage of Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet now available.
96 Points Sames Suckling: "This is a big upgrade in finesse and clarity to such a popular, premium cabernet from Napa. It shows lots of blackberry, tar, cedar and oak-tree aromas that follow through to a full yet toned palate of fine, integrated tannins and a vivid finish. Owner David Duncan explained that the American oak they use in the wine for aging now comes 100% from their own barrel-making facilities, which tones down the vanilla character in the wine. Really impressive and delicious. It’s a joy to drink now, but can age. Drink or hold."
The Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is more limited in availability than the Alexander Valley. Production is the largest yet for the Silver Oak 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa (a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec blended in). Full-bodied, chewy, and muscular with an inky dark ruby/plum color, and hints of wood smoke, tobacco, cinnamon, espresso roast, and herbs, this dense, chewy, lavishly oaked wine should drink well for 10-12 years.
New release from former Screaming Eagle winemaker. Limited.
96 Points Jeb Dunnuck: "Winemaker Maayan Koschitzky is the talent behind these Brilliant Mistake wines, and the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is beautiful, with full-bodied aromas and flavors of cassis, tobacco leaf, violets, and baking spices. Ripe, exuberant, and expansive on the palate, this sexy, balanced 2019 can be drunk today or cellared for 15-20 years if you’re so inclined."
95 Points Robert Parker: 'A blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot, the deep garnet-purple colored Brilliant Mistake 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is redolent of exotic spices, vanilla pod and chocolate box, over a core of warm cassis and blackberries, plus a fragrant waft of violets. The full-bodied, rich, soft and seductive palate has a lively backbone and tons of energy in the long finish."
For Maayan Koschitzky making wine was a fine idea at the time, but now it's just a Brilliant Mistake. Now, he didn't stumble into this brilliance, he spent a decade honing his skills in his native Israel before coming to the states to work as the winemaker for Screaming Eagle. A decade later, as Director of Winemaking for Atelier Melka he pushes the buttons on several projects. Brilliant Mistake is 100% Cabernet and aged for 21 months in 65% new oak. Produced in tiny quantities (300 cases) Jeb Dunnuck raves that this wine "reveals pretty, nuanced notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, spice box, and flowers." A wine that will last a couple of decades, don't miss out on its beauty, purity and expressiveness.
New release of Caymus' Napa Cabernet now available! Caymus makes one of Napa Valley's most popular Cabernet Sauvignons and the 2021 is another stellar wine.
previous vintage 94 Points Robert Parker: "The Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley has a dense opaque purple color, a kiss of blackberry and cassis fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel with ripe tannin and a long finish. It is very Caymus in its immediate accessibility, but has plenty of staying power and depth. This is lush, full, intense and pure. Drink it over the next 15 or so years."
Caymus Vineyards produces two Cabernets Sauvignons – a “Napa Valley” and the venerable “Special Selection”. Both Cabernet bottlings have aromas and flavors which can only be achieved through “hang time” – a technique which chances the loss of crop if early winter sets in. Leaving the fruit to “hang” on the vine unusually long develops suppleness, increases color, and matures the tannins of the grapes. The wines are abundant in textural tannins yet soft as velvet. Crop thinning, allowing measured sunlight to reach the vine’s fruit zone, and waiting for increased ripeness are all part of our viticultural practices. Caymus Cabernets offer a wide array of aromas and flavors including cocoa, cassis and vanilla. The new Caymus 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley release is one of the best cabs in years!
95 Points - limited
CADE is Plumpjack's hot new winery on Howell Mountain. Limited.
95 Points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): "The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a total knock-out. Winemaker Danielle Cyrot has done a tremendous job taming the Howell Mountain tannins. There is still plenty of power and structure, but all the elements are so well balanced here. Inky dark red fruit, iron, new leather, blood orange, spice, a kiss of new French oak and game build in an opulent, brooding Cabernet loaded with personality."
95+ Points Jeb Dunnuck: "The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate comes all from the estate on Howell Mountain and is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, and the balance Merlot and Petit Verdot. More blue fruits, bay leaf, candied violets, orange blossom, and floral notes emerge from this full-bodied beauty, which reveals a rounded, sexy texture, polished tannins, and a great finish. Give bottles just a few years in the cellar and it's going to keep for 15+."
Brix26 Inside Scoop: PlumpJack's new winery, CADE, is up on Napa Valley's Howell Mountain and is turning out some fantastricly rich mountain Cabernets. On your next visit to the Napa Valley we recommend a visit to taste their wines from the stunning views at the winery.
Epoch Winery is a phenomenal new label from Paso Robles. Not to be missed while available.
96 Points Jeb Dunnuck: "While the estate blend used to function as an entry level cuvée, today it's as good as the other cuvées and well worth seeking out in its own right. A Syrah-driven blend, the 2018 Estate Blend has beautiful freshness and purity as well as notes of red and blue fruits, lots of floral and violet hints, cracked pepper, medium to full body, and a beautiful texture. It has a cool-climate-like freshness and purity, but backs it up with beautifully ripe fruit and texture...Superstar winemaker Jordan Fiorentini continues to keep Epoch Estate near the top of the peak in Paso Robles. These are classic Paso Roble’s Rhône blends that mix the best of California sun and richness with a sense of purity, elegance, and balance. Don’t miss them!"
95 Points Robert PArker: 'The Epoch 2018 Estate Blend comes from all three of Epoch's estate vineyards and is a blend of 47% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, 18% Grenache, 12% Tempranillo and 3% Graciano, aged 19 months in 50% new French oak barrels and puncheons. It has a deep ruby-purple color and gregarious aromas of blackberry and blueberry jam, with accents of milk chocolate and pie spice. The palate is medium-bodied with an abundance of grainy tannins, seamless freshness and a very long, flavorful finish. This is ready and open to drink!"
Robert Parker: "...This was a very impressive tasting with winemaker Jordan Fiorentini and proprietor Bill Armstrong. Epoch's wines succeed in capturing all the power of which western Paso Robles is capable, but for all their structure, extract and ripe fruit, they're beautifully balanced and texturally refined, with new oak very much taking a back seat to the grapes and the vineyards. Fiorentini is clearly passionate and a perfectionist, and I'm sure Epoch is only going to go from strength to strength in coming vintages."
A dazzling blend of Syrah, Grenache, Tempranillo and Mourvedre . Located on the west side of Paso Robles, the Paderewski Vineyard is a patchwork of different vineyard blocks matched to their specific soil and climate types. The Epoch 2010 Estate Blend captures that patchwork in a bottle. Predominantly Syrah, but combined with almost every other red variety from the estate, this wine gives a sweeping glimpse of the vineyard and our winemaking practices. As a true field blend, the Estate Blend combines 15 different harvest picks. 56% Syrah, 26% Grenache, 11% Mourvedre, 7% Tempranillo. This baby brother to Epoch's Authenticity, Veracity & Ingenuity is a delightful wine that doesn't break the bank. Five of its siblings all scored between 92 and 96 Points!
Exclusive new limited release (#5) from Orin Swift Cellars: 8 Years in The Desert. Eight limited edition bottles will be released – one at a time – for the next eight years.
previous vintage 93 Points Robert Parker: "Medium garnet-purple colored, the Orin Swift Zinfandel Blend 8 Years in the Desert delivers notions of stewed plums, baked raspberries and fruitcake with hints of powdered cinnamon, clove oil, tree bark, hoisin and dusty soil. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is chock-full of ripe, spicy black and red fruits, supported by chewy tannins and tons of freshness, finishing long and earthy. 8 Years in the Desert is a blend of 56% Zinfandel, 34% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah."
The Story: Dave has included a personal note for everyone selling the wine on the attached and as to what this release means to him after 8 Years of having not worked with Zinfandel which in context is the varietal that helped cement his career in the industry. Unlike other varietals Dave had to draw on an 8 Year memory of making Zinfandel and knowing that there would be a certain level of expectation of quality from both a wine and packaging elements. During the 8 Year hiatus, there has been a focus and thought regarding the wine and label every single day up until the actual harvest and design could begin which multiplied the effort by a factor of 20.
Winery Notes: The fifth chapter in the eight-part Zinfandel epic from legendary winemaker Dave Phinney is finally here. From the beginning, the concept behind 8 Years in the Desert involved creating eight unique labels—one for each vintage. It all started in 2008, when Dave Phinney sold The Prisoner brand. By doing so, he entered an 8-year non-compete where he could barely utter the word Zinfandel. In that 8-year exile, Dave published a book named 8 Years in the Desert which would become the name of his next ode to the Zinfandel grape. With the fifth chapter of 8 Years in the Desert, Orin Swift Cellars has taken the art of Zinfandel to yet another level. We hope you enjoy this wine as much as we enjoyed creating it.
A blockbuster new Cabernet blend from Hestan Vineyards. Usually only available to mailing list members we have a small amount of this tiny production Cabernet while our allocation lasts!
Brix26 Inside Scoop: "Stephanie Cabernet comes from relative Napa Valley newcomer Hestan Vineyards, who are turning out some great high-end wines. The Stephanie Cabernet has quietly become one of our top-selling Cabernets over the last 3 vintages for good reason: its got all the hallmarks of a "classic" California Cabernet: plenty of rich berry fruit and that dusty tannin; not a wimpy Cab and not a giant fruit bomb. If you're a Cab-lover, Stephanie should be next on your wish list. Every time a customer calls and asks what new Cabernet we recommend, we'll send them Stephanie and 9 times out of ten they reorder a case!"