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 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.
The new 2019 Opus One now available. Limited.
99 Points Robert Parker: "Winemaker Michael Silacci commented that usually the blends are finished in January or February after the vintage. This year, with the 2019s, he was still tweaking the blend, but he did mention that this is "pretty close to the final blend." Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2019 Opus One leaps from the glass with notes of Black Forest cake, Morello cherries, mulberries and fresh blackcurrants plus hints of licorice, wilted roses, Sichuan pepper and iron ore. Full-bodied, the palate is jam-packed with juicy black, blue and red fruits, framed by velvety tannins and background freshness, finishing on a compelling earthy/mineral note. Tasted as a barrel sample, this is a truly magnificent Opus One in the making!"
99 Points James Suckling: "The purity of fruit is really something else here, with currants and fresh flowers, such as violets and roses. Flower stems as well. Fantastic length and structure to the wine, with tightness and focus. Wonderful fruit. Graceful. A blend of 78% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot, 7% petit verdot, 6% cabernet franc and 1% malbec. Try after 2028."
98 Points Jeb Dunnuck: "Similarly ruby/purple-hued, the 2019 Opus One is cut from the same cloth as the 2018 yet has a touch more baby fat and opulence, at least as this stage. Beautiful black raspberry, cassis, toasted spice, lead pencil, and subtle oak all make an appearance, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a rounded, layered mouthfeel, impressive tannins, and a great finish. I don't think it has the same precision as the 2018, but it brings another level of hedonism. It's another beautiful wine from this team. The blend is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot."
The Opus One 2019 offers a harmonious aromatic balance of rich dark fruit, stems of roses and earthy forest floor. The juicy entry offers a round, silky mouthfeel with just enought acidity to complement the satin texture. This seductive wine shows flavors of black cassis, black cheerry and a hint of cocoa powder. The fine-grained, plush tannins evolve into a long, supple finish. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot and 1% Malbec.
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.
★ 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!
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.
Robert Parker: "Major sleeper of not only the vintage, but in its entire concept...stunningly delicious, complex, big-time, sexy style...Off-the-charts in terms of its hedonistic appeal...complex enough to satisfy the intellectual senses as well."
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!