New release of Caymus' Napa Cabernet now available! Caymus makes one of Napa Valley's most popular Cabernet Sauvignons and the 2020 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!
New release of Heid Barrett's Paradigm Oakville Cabernet!
Heidi Barrett is well-known as the original winemaker for Screaming Eagle, but Paradigm is her secret sleeper from Oakville in Napa Valley. The brilliant new Paradigm 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is gorgeous now, but the patient may see it rival the wonderful 1999 Paradigm as this winery's best Cab ever.
95 Points Decanter: "Owned and managed by the Harris family, Paradigm winery produced its first vintage in 1991 in Oakville with winemaker Heidi Barrett. A self-contained winery estate with 50 acres of vineyards, Paradigm maintains a hands-on approach to all winemaking and vineyard operations. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon consists of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, and is aged in both new and used French oak for 20 months, then aged a further 20 months in bottle before release."
Winemaker Tasting Notes: "The 2018 vintage produced delicious concentrated wines in smaller quantity than normal. This black raspberry colored Cabernet has lovely open aromatics of black cherry, berry, and plum layered with a perfect balance of new and used French Oak. Our blend uses several blocks of Cabernet, Merlot, and Cab Franc from our Estate vineyard in Oakville. The effect is one of layered complete flavors and a delicious expression of how beautiful Oakville wine can be. Flavors match the aromas. Tannins are moderate yet add a nice chewy texture and the length goes on several seconds. This is a beautiful wine that will age surely for decades but is delish now."
New vintage of Silver Oak 2017 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 2017 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 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.
★ 95 Points
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!
98 Points - limited
One of Chile's finest wines, the Almaviva is a delicious Cabernet blend.
Almaviva is a joint venture between Concha Y Toro and the Rothschild family, begun in 1998. Like her father before her saw in the Opus One project, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild saw the potential to create a world-class claret from these own-rooted, 37 year old vines on purely alluvial soils high in the “Puente Alto” zone of the Maipo Valley.
98 Points Decanter: "Founded by Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Concha y Toro in Puente Alto, Almaviva excels with its Bordeaux-inflected reds created by Michel Friou. Its 2019 cuveé – 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Carmenere, and the rest made up of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot – enjoyed an extraordinary year resulting in a fragrant nose of dark fruit, lavender, eucalyptus, blackcurrant and cigar box aromas. The refined palate has a fresh core and velvety feel."
97 Points James Suckling: "The aromas of iodine and blackcurrants with roses and lavender make the wine extremely perfumed. It’s full-bodied with a tight, fine-tannined palate that shows linear flow through the center palate. It’s vertical and integrated, adding depth and serious quality to the wine."
95+ Points Robert Parker: The 2019 Almaviva is a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Carmenère (from Peumo), 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Merlot, higher in Carmenere and reflecting a warmer and drier vintage when then bottled wine reached 15% alcohol. It fermented with destemmed grapes in stainless steel and matured in French oak barrels, 75% of them new, for 18 months. Here, the Carmenere adds herbal freshness and changes the aromatic profile when compared with the 2019 Epu. 2019 was a good year for Carmenere, which suffers in extremely warm years like 2017, but in moderately warm years like 2019, the variety displays that herbal character and has good density. It's full-bodied and round, with saturated tannins, tasty, spicy and long, with a dry, serious finish. It's balsamic, with notes of camphor and a silky and velvety texture
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.
New from Pingus!
Second wine from Dominio de Pingus who make the legendary Pingus Red. Limited.
Harmonious and elegant, this is a beautiful second wine from the renowned Dominio de Pingus. Dark cherry nose with earthy and coffee nuances; pure, concentrated fruit on the palate. Like those other esteemed names, Pingus has a quality that is often lacking in today's "modern" wines-a sense of utter individuality. There is no other wine in the world, let alone Spain, that is quite like Pingus, and that singularity is one of the fundamental requirements for great wine.
96 Points Robert Parker: "The cask sample of 2019 Flor de Pingus is truly impressive and really shows what Sisseck was talking about: ripeness (more blue fruit), finesse and freshness, with super elegant and round tannins. There is great balance, and it feels very complete. They took the risk to harvest when nobody else was harvesting; I think they made the right decision, but it was not without risk. This is a superb interpretation of the conditions of the 2019 vintage. A mini-Pingus at a very different price."
The 2019 Flor de Pingus is a mosaic of different vineyards in the village of La Horra in Burgos, totaling some 35 hectares. As all these are estate vineyards, they were much better controlled than those used for PSI, and the wine shows it in a challenging vintage like this one. It has a slightly different profile from your average Ribera, with better freshness. The wine had only been in bottle for around one month, and the wine is open and expressive. There are some roasted aromas, black cherries, blackberries and plenty of spices with hints of smoke. It’s also a lighter version of Flor, and whether this will be as long-lived as other vintages, it’s still a question mark, as the extra acidity might give it a longer life than expected. In any case, give it some time in bottle to finish integrating the oak and drink over the next four-five years.