2016 Duckhorn Rutherford
This is a single Rutherford AVA-designated Cabernet Sauvignon. Dan and Margaret Duckhorn founded the winery and their legacy in 1976. Well-known for their coveted Three Palms Merlots, Duckhorn continues its momentum in crafting ultra-premium Napa Cabernets in the same vein. This Rutherford Cabernet reveals a deep medium ruby color that opens with attractive crème de cassis, dusty earthy elements and finely tapered ripe tannins. There is complexity at every turn and a lengthy finish that is mind-boggling. If you need to be massaged at night, this wine will fulfill every expectation. Duckhorn’s “Howell Mountain” bottling is a youthful mountain interpretation with an explosive amount of mixed black fruits and a multidimensional personality.
2016 Round Pond Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Occupying 362 acres of vineyards in Rutherford, the MacDonnell family built a state-of-the-art winemaking facility and hospitality center offering farm-to-table experiences. Founded in 1983, Round Pond began selling their fruit to other wineries until deciding to bottle their own vintage in 2002. Their focus has been on complex Sauvignon Blancs and sleekly designed Rutherford Cabernets from this region. In addition, they produce artisan olive oils and vinegars from the property. This estate bottling is deeply opaque and etched with an abundance of ripe, black skinned plums and baking spices. The roasted espresso, mocha and hint of mint fill in the background, giving this wine a broad range of appeal. Their Reserve bottling is even more unctuous and impressive, ranking it among the best in this Rutherford neighborhood of the elite.
2016 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon
After purchasing a 600-acre cattle ranch in St. Helena in 1973, Joe Phelps set out to establish his identity planting vineyards in the Napa Valley landscape. By 1974, he introduced California’s first proprietary Bordeaux blend named Insignia. Year in and year out Joseph Phelps Winery continues to overachieve at every level. They set the bar for Napa Valley Cabernet higher with each vintage. Grapes for this wine were farmed from multiple estate-owned vineyards including Stag’s Leap District, Rutherford and St. Helena, then aged for 18 months in American and French Oak barrels. This Cabernet Sauvignon is richly designed with exotic layers of black orchard fruits accented with minerals. This wine has density, texture and finesse all packaged together in a beautifully well-framed wine. It continues in the long standing Phelps tradition. Stash a case of this away in the cellar.The 2016 Insignia has an abundance of fresh flowers and endless purity of fruit making it a compelling and legendary achievement.
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars "Fay"
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars established their reputation early on in 1976 when Winemaker Warren Winarski earned worldwide acclaim for his 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon paired against the top reds from Bordeaux. Fay Vineyard was the first planting of Cabernet Sauvignon within the Stag’s Leap District. The 2016 releases from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars are among their best achievements since Warren’s departure and confirm their status as one of the premium craftsmen of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is opaque with highly perfumed purple violet floral aromas. The silky textures and caressing body offer a luxurious mouth-feel. This compact wine is filled with lively layers of blueberry foam and Asian spices within a sleek and seductive frame.
From the Prisoner Wine Company, the grapes for this wine were sourced from vineyards on Howell Mountain, Mount Veeder, Spring Mountain and Mayacammas. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Petit Sirah, Syrah and some Zinfandel give it an exotic personality. Dark espresso and cocoa are mixed with brown spices and melted fudge. Approachable and definitely drinkable now.
2016 Mount Veeder
This small property of 90 acres was acquired by Michael and Arlene Bernstein in the 1960’s as a personal retreat. They chose to plant vineyards on this rugged mountain terrain of volcanic soils. The first vintage was released in 1973 with an emphasis on Cabernet Sauvignon. Franciscan Vineyards has since purchased the winery and property. The deep ruby color opens to enticing aromas of cassis, ripe berry and baked cherry with hints of cedar, rosemary and dried sage. This wine builds in complexity with layers of dark chocolate, peppercorns and hints of licorice. It possesses a wonderfully rich palate that is firm and dry, but finishes with a beautiful sweetness that is well-balanced.
By Perry Miroballi