Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognized through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. From France, the grape spread across Europe and to the New World where it found new homes in places like California's Santa Cruz Mountains, Napa Valley, New Zealand's Hawkes Bay, Australia's Margaret River and Coonawarra regions and Chile's Maipo Valley and Colchagua. The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine's aging potential. In cooler climates, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes that can be accompanied by green bell pepper notes, mint and cedar which will all become more pronounced as the wine ages. In more moderate climates the blackcurrant notes are often seen with black cherry and black olives notes while in very hot climates the current flavors can veer towards the over-ripe and "jammy" side.
- Item #: i_201090Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96Vinous Media: 95ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon struts out of the glass with bold cassis, crushed black cherries and blackberries with touches of menthol, pencil lead, tapenade, lavender, espresso and bay leaves. The lively palate is full-bodied with firm, grainy, super ripe tannins and a fantastic mineral-tinged finish."
ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "John Schwartz's 2015 Au Sommet is superb. Nuanced, polished and super-delicious, the 2015 possesses exceptional finesse and texture in the mid-weight, gracious style that is Heidi Barrett's signature. The flavors are dark and incisive in this dark, sumptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Even so, the 2015 retains terrific freshness for the year. Black cherry, lavender, graphite, plum and menthol add striking layers of nuance."
- Item #: i_213010Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 99Continuum celebrates the ongoing legacy of the Mondavi family's proud history in Napa Valley. It represents a new beginning, and reaffirms their longstanding commitment to winemaking excellence. At the helm is Tim Mondavi who led the winemaking team at Robert Mondavi Winery for 30 years. He is joined in guiding the vision and direction by his sister Marcia, his children Dante, Carlo and Carissa Mondavi. Carissa, Dante, and Carlo are the fourth generation to join the winery. Carlo and Dante have since shifted focus to their own project called Raen which we highly urge you to check out as well.
The wine comes from the family's vineyard atop the Vaca Mountains that run along the eastern side the Napa Valley. This mountainous region is home to other illustrious wineries such as David Arthur, Ovid, Bryant, Chappellet, and Gandona. This year's blend is 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 18% Petit Verdot, and 5% Merlot. The wine was bottled with fining or filtering, to preserve much of the complexity of the wine.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 99 POINTS - "The 2016 Proprietary Red is blended of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 18% Petit Verdot and 5% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it emits an incredible array of seductive floral notes—violets, lavender and rose hip tea—with a core of warm cassis, redcurrant jelly, dark chocolate, cigar box, tapenade and crushed rocks plus hints of bay leaves, beef drippings and yeast extract. Medium to full-bodied, the palate explodes with vivacious black fruit sparked by red fruit, herbal and mineral accents. It is framed with a rock-solid line of firm, grainy, super ripe tannins and finishes with fantastic fragrance and freshness. Wow!"
- Item #: i_214180Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 95ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is super-refined, polished and articulate, with mid-weight structure and fine overall balance. Readers should expect a somewhat laid-back wine by Dalla Valle's standards. In 2014, the Cabernet Sauvignon is especially aromatic and nuanced. It should drink well with minimal cellaring."
- Item #: i_200452Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 95ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "Winemaker Nile Zacherle crafts some of the most elegant, polished Cabernets readers will taste on Pritchard Hill. As good as the wines are, they would almost certainly be even better if the estate took a few more risks. Today, the wines are almost always outstanding, but there may be an even higher level of quality that can be achieved here."
ROBERT PARKER 95 POINTS - "The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Elevation 1147 has the darker, more spiced profile found in the Three Acre with the lift and freshness of the Old Vine. All the elements come together nicely in this super-expressive Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2015 is wonderfully dense and lush, and yet retains quite a bit of freshness."
- Item #: i_245270Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95Vinous Media: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 98 PointsThis is the personal label of Luc Morlet and his wife Jodie. Luc has made the wines at Newton Vineyards, where he cotinued to craft their highly-touted Unfiltered Chardonnay Unfiltered (a collector favorite). He then became the head winemaker for Peter Michael Winery and crafted their wines from the 2001-2005 vintages, where he made a 98-point Cabernet-blend and a 99-point Chardonnay!
The "Passionement" Cabernet Sauvignon comes from one of the best vineyards in Napa Valley's Oakville area. Dark purple in color, this has intense and complex bouquet of red, black and blue berries intermixed with notes of blueberries, Creme de Cassis, plum, cedar and a hint of cedar and cigar box. Full bodied, the palate is reminiscent of the nose, with a creamy texture and a great intensity. The luscious tannins, the intense aromatic complexity and its opulence create a flamboyant yet harmonious ensemble, leading to a very long, complex and smooth finish. This early charming and collectible wine represents the passionate, uncompromised and on-going pursuit of quality.
JEB DUNNUCK 98 POINTS - "I loved these latest releases from Luc Morlet and family, and they show a sensational mix of classic, balanced, even old-school, characters mixed with killer California fruit. As a whole, the 2014s show more elegance and complexity, with the 2015s possessing more power and richness. These are rockstar wines."
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Passionnement comes from a site in Oakville (there's a tiny portion from St. Helena) and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It offers a ripe, sweetly fruited, elegant, yet also powerful style that just glides over the palate with no sense of heaviness or coarseness. Revealing notes of creme de cassis, crushed flowers, graphite, and spice, this cuvee always shines for its seamless, elegant personality, yet it never lacks for density or richness."
ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Passionnement, tasted from magnum, is plush, sensual and inviting. In 2014, the Passionnement is a bit restrained, but that is not necessarily a bad thing for this wine, which is a selection of the best barrels in the cellar. Bittersweet chocolate, lavender, graphite, spice and silky tannins add to the wine's considerable appeal."
ROBERT PARKER 95 POINTS - "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Passionnement is a relatively small cuvee of 250 cases from Oakville. Sweet tannin, a seamless entry on the palate, an opaque ruby/purple color and a big kiss of creme de cassis, blackberry, scorched earth and burning embers is followed by a wine with a long finish, moderate tannin and surprising intensity and power for a 2014. Drink it over the next 30 years."
- Item #: i_249330Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 96 PointsWhile on our annual winter trip to the Napa Valley in 2013, we were invited to the "kick off" for a new winery named Pulido-Walker, and the first of their three single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. That wine was the single best wine we had on our entire trip!
Pulido-Walker is dedicated to the perfection of every element needed to craft exceptional single-vineyard designate Cabernet Sauvignon. Proprietors Mark Pulido and Donna Walker grew up in pharmacy families, and this early common experience is integral to the Pulido-Walker philosophy. Their scientific backgrounds make Mark and Donna precise, inquisitive, and detailed; they know that perseverance and attentive observation yield results worth waiting for. Few people have the commitment or the endurance—never mind the conviction of their principles—to completely reframe the experiment mid-stream.
Their winemaker is the highly sought-after Thomas Brown, who also crafts the high scoring and incredible wines at Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and others. He has been in Napa since 1997, where he began his career at Turley Cellars and now makes wines for select premium labels. Over the last decade, Thomas has received not just one but eight 100-point Wine Advocate Parker scores to go along with two 100-point awards from Wine Spectator. Beyond generosity and roundness in tannins, his wines have few common traits and are very individual. Pulido~Walker's Cabernet Sauvignons promise to be among his most distinctive.
"What separates the best valley floor sites from good valley floor sites is their ability to drain," explains winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown. Panek Vineyard blankets a rocky, gently sloping knoll in the shadow of the Mayacamas Mountains along the old Napa River bed wash. The loamy soil, with its highly compacted alluvial deposits of gravel, provides optimal drainage. The valley basin is also more temperate than the hillsides surrounding St. Helena, making it ideal for slower ripening and full development of flavors. These elements coalesce in low yields of reliably superb fruit.
JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard comes from a site in St. Helena and offers a darker, savory style as well as plenty of blue fruits, violets, tobacco, and damp earth. With bright acidity, a silky, elegant texture, and terrific purity, it's a more vibrant, juicier, fresher wine than the Melanson Vineyard. Give bottle 2-4 years and drink over the following two decades."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard is gorgeous. Bright red cherry, sweet tobacco, mint and rose petal notes give the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard a level of brilliance that sets it apart from most other Cabernets being made off this site. Plush, elegant and sensual to its core, the 2016 is a winner from Pulido-Walker and winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown."
- Item #: i_265200Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 99Vinous Media: 96It was nearly 40 years ago when Stags Leap Wine Cellars won the famed Paris Tasting of 1976 and help to skyrocket Napa Valley Cabernets to stardom across the world! Flash forward to today, and you will find that this "blue chip" producer is not resting on its laurels. No, they are still pushing to put every little bit of complexity, nuance, and finesse into their Cabernet Sauvignons that they possibly can. Combine this with Napa's highly-praised and eagerly-anticipated 2013 vintage, and you've got some amazing wines!
The signature style for Stags Leap Wine Cellars has often been described as "an iron fist in a velvet glove," a reference to the artful balance-between ripeness and restraint, softness and structure—that yields wines of exceptional beauty and long life. Achieving that style requires a level of attention to detail found only among the world's most dedicated wine producers. In addition, Stags Leap picks in small lots to maintain the identity of the vineyards, age the wine exclusively in French oak, and their vineyard team works carefully on a vine-by-vine basis, rather than the more typical agricultural approach where farming decisions are made on a field basis. In addition, Stags Leap Wine Cellars focuses on sustainable farming, even receiving "Napa Green Certified Land" certification for their three estate vineyards, and "Napa Green Certified Winery" for the winery. Napa Green is the wine industry's most comprehensive "best practices" in land-use and wine production.
ROBERT PARKER 99 POINTS - "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 ratchets up the level of complexity, richness and density. Magnificent floral notes intermix with blueberry, blackberry and cassis, and there is no hint of new oak. A full-bodied opulence on the palate, great purity and personality make for a prodigious example of Cabernet Sauvignon to drink over the next 30+ years. Kudos to Stags Leap Wine Cellars."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "New owner Chateau Ste. Michelle, along with minority partner Antinori, has done a magnificent job with these 2013s. In fact, the wines are so brilliant and such a significant departure from the past that I tasted through the range twice. New winemaker Marcus Notaro has introduced a more contemporary, fruit-driven style at Stag's Leap. More importantly, these 2013s show none of the flaws that marred some wines in the past. Needless to say, it will be fascinating to see where things go, but one thing is clear; the three flagship Cabernets are all fabulous."
"The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon CASK 23 is another total knock-out from Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. Sculpted and nuanced, the 2013 presents a striking melange of typical Stags Leap notes. Violets, lavender, mint, cloves, graphite and dark spice are some of the signatures in a Cabernet that achieves a compelling balance of power, finesse and overall intensity. This tightly coiled Cabernet is going to need a few years to fully come together, but it is terrific and a great example of what Stags Leap Cabernets are all about."