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!