- Item #: i_208030Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94Vinous Media: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 96JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "Coming from estate fruit on Howell Mountain and made from 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% each of Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Merlot, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate offers a darker, more mineral-driven style compared to the Napa release. It has beautiful blackcurrant, cassis, forest floor, graphite, and tobacco leaf-like aromas and flavors. Deep, full-bodied, beautifully polished and elegant, it's another remarkable effort from this team. As Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon goes, it's a brilliant value!"
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2017 Cade Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with 4% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot, is deep garnet-purple colored and a little closed, slowly giving up warm cassis, blackberry tart and mulberries with touches of spice box, pencil shavings and Marmite toast. The full-bodied palate is firm, grainy and muscular with an earthy expression and just enough freshness, finishing on a lingering mineral note."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a dense, chewy Howell Mountain wine. A blast of black cherry, plum, licorice, smoke, leather, bittersweet chocolate, spice and tobacco hit the palate. The 2017 is bold and immediate in feel, but it also has plenty of structure. I would give it a few years to soften but this is a potent, brooding wine with a bright future."
- Item #: i_208170Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 98JEB DUNNUCK 98 POINTS - "Based on 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a stunning 2017 that plays with the crème de la crème of the vintage. Stunning cassis and blueberry fruit notes are interwoven with notions of white chocolate, unsmoked tobacco, forest floor, and lead pencil shavings. These all carry to the palate, where this beauty is full-bodied, deep, and concentrated, with the straight, focused style of the vineyard paired with beautiful depth and sweetness of fruit. This classic, sexy tour de force in 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has everything in the right places, no hard edges, and a great finish. Drink it any time over the coming 30 years or more."
- Item #: i_207140Bottle Size: 750mlThe Cain 2012 Concept is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, and 4% Cabernet Franc from such prestigious vineyards as Beckstoffer George III, Hudson, and Stagecoach. This wine displays the aromatic complexity, smooth entry, balanced mouthfeel and graceful finish, which are the signatures of the Cain style. One of the best Napa vintages of recent history, the 2012 expresses all the warm, generous fruitiness which Cabernet Sauvignon can offer when grown in the best sites of the Napa Valley. It is simply bursting with fragrant aromas of fruit, flowers, tobacco and spice, all layered over a zesty, juicy structure that promises many years to come.
- Item #: i_207100Bottle Size: 750MLIf you have enjoyed the prior "vintages" of Cain Cuvee, you will love the NV15. Those of you who have followed Cain Cuvee know that it is not your typical Napa red wine; no big, inky, oaky blockbuster here. Cain Cuvee is intended to sit lightly, refreshingly (dare we say, lovingly?) on your palate. There is all the fruit that you could want, but the Cain Cuvee is not fruit juice. It is, most assuredly, fine wine for serious wine-lovers who value complexity, balance and finish. The Cain Cuvee is for those who know that wine doesnet have to be big to be good.
- Item #: i_207220Bottle Size: 750mlA blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28 Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec, the potential of this wine is just beginning to show. The color is relatively dark—not opaque—with no sign of evolution. The aromas are discrete: fruity-floral— herbal—spicy—and pure. On the palate, the wine has a certain density, but now the tannins have melted and this wine just flows. This is a wine for the ages.
- Item #: i_207520Bottle Size: 750MLPretty aromas of ripe boysenberry, dark cherry and cassis, coupled with scents of sweet oak and herbal spice, introduce plush, deeply concentrated, black fruit flavors bolstered by bright acidity and well-structured tannins. This classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a long, lovely finish featuring savory fruit, spice and mineral tones. Delicious now, it will age gracefully in bottle for another 7-10 years.
- Item #: i_208140Bottle Size: 750MLThe Cannonball dive is a dive for the people. It doesn't discriminate against body type, race, religion, political affiliation, social status, or fashion sense. And if you've never done a Cannonball, then you'd better just put this newsletter down (or turn off your computer), go find a body of water, and dive in! When you're jumping into the water on a beautiful summer day (or winter, if it's warm enough), with nothing on your mind except leaping high, balling up tight, and making a splash that is going to get as many people wet as possible, that moment you're in the air might be the best feeling you can have with your swimsuit on.
Now you may think that a wine company called Cannonball is not very serious. They actually address that: "True, we try not to take ourselves too seriously, but that's because wine should be enjoyable. Now don't get us wrong. We're serious about quality, honesty, and enjoying life. And, we're dead serious about spreading our love and passion for wine by offering great wines at great prices."
This is seriously delicious wine. The nose is aloft with earth, spice and fruit; strawberry tea, cherries, garden rose, a touch of bramble. The palate loads up more fruit with cherries in the fore, easy tannins, light acidity; this is bold but balanced wine. Mid-palate, we taste cocoa and oak, mixed berries like in a compote, with sweet cherry dominating the lengthy finish.
- Item #: i_206980Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96+Vinous Media: 96ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 96+ POINTS - "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cardinale Cabernet Sauvignon (containing 10% Merlot) gives beautiful red, black and blue fruit notes with touches of dried herbs, spice cake and unsmoked cigars, plus a waft of cedar. Medium to full-bodied, it has a firm structure with plenty of gregarious mid-palate fruit, finishing with a lingering herbal lift. This seductive blockbuster is temptingly drinkable now and it should age gracefully over 15-20 years. 2,579 cases produced."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "The 2015 Cardinale is dark, sensual and totally beguiling. Voluptuous fruit and soft, racy contours make a strong opening statement. The dark cherry, mocha, smoke, plum, spice and new leather flavors are all amped up in a seamless, alluring Cardinale that is going to be nearly impossible to resist in its youth. There is so much to like here."
- Item #: i_212040Bottle Size: 750mlJust as Cabernet is considered by many to be the "king" of all red wines, the carnivore in nature similarly sits atop the food chain. This Carnivor is a great Cab for the holidays-- it is bold, brash, but still very balanced wine. Carnivor starts and stays big: the nose is loaded with red and dark fruits with a touch of pepper/brown spices and earth. The palate continues with forward fruit (cherry and plum), more spice, earth, baker's chocolate and a soupcon of espresso. Following fermentation, Merlot was added to the wine, lending a touch of finesse to the power and structure of the Cabernet Sauvignon. Appropriate acidity keeps the palate from becoming cloying. The finish is long and rich with reverberations of fruit and earth. A large portion of the fruit for the Carnivor came from select vineyards in Lodi, where daytime heat and delta cooling in the evening help to produce intense ripe fruit.
Carnivor is a fantastic Cab-- it drinks way above its price point, has plenty of depth with ample fruit, earth and spice in its profile, has the backbone to pair with foods (and the fruit to enjoy solo) and will be a definite crowd-pleaser. It's good to be the king!
- Item #: i_208730Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95+Jeb Dunnuck: 94During his annual winter trip to the Napa Valley, our domestic buyer was tasting wines atop Howell Mountain. If you know anything about the layout of the Napa Valley, Howell Mountain is an area where many of the best wines are made, including Lail, O'Shaughnessy, Lokoya, La Jota, Arkenstone, Dunn, Cimarossa...you get the point. But to make another point, there was a new label showing their wine. Now, this happens every year, but this wine...stood out. Proprietors Dave and Kathleen Decesaris have a pretty long history in the wine industry. We's like to think that they "honed in" their Napa Valley know-how while shopping at our store, but it's really all Kathleen's background. See, she was a wine educator at Freemark Abbey in the 1990's, which gave her easy access to the regions very best growers, vintners, and winemakers. As for Dave, during an impromptu day trip to Napa Valley, Dave followed the advice he came across in a randomly purchased guidebook and visited Freemark Abbey Winery. It was there that he met his soon to be wife and partner, Kathleen, who introduced him to the basics of viticulture and the concept of vineyard-designated wines. This introduction to the importance of site and mesoclimate ignited his passion to produce single vineyard, single varietal Napa Valley cabernets.
Their Howell Mountain vineyard, surrounding forest and rugged mountain scenery is reminiscentof the continuous interaction between the unique natural elements of the site and the vines. Rocky soils combined with warm days and cool night privide an ideal microclimate for Cabernet Sauvignon. Sustainably farmed by highly acclaimed viticulturist Jim Barbour (who has also farmed the properties at Hundred Acre, Kelly Fleming, and Au Sommet), the rocky, volcanic soils, excellent drainage and long growing season of this west facing Howell Montain AVA site combine to produce complex fruit featuring ripe yet age-worthy tannins, crisp acidity and alluring mountain cabernet flavors.
Celia Welch is one of North America's most significant winemakers and believes wine should speak to the unique qualities and characteristics of the vineyard. Her exceptionally talented hand has crafted some of the most notable Cabernet Sauvignons to come out of the Napa Valley, including Scarecrow, Staglin, Lindstrom, and her own Corra label
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95+ POINTS - "This is my first time tasting this new project high up on Howell Mountain with winemaker Celia Welch and WOW—what an impressive start! I asked Celia how she managed to produce a wine of such crunchiness, freshness and purity in 2017. 'It probably barely got above 90 degrees during the Labor Day heat wave up there,' she said with a smile. The longer, cooler growing season certainly shows in the finesse of these beauties. A vineyard to watch!"
"Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon has a slightly broody nose to begin, offering glimpses at damp earth, charcoal and underbrush scents over a core of warm cassis, blackberry pie and black raspberries with touches of pencil lead and dried Provence herbs. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has bold freshness and a myriad of earthy sparks, framed by ripe grainy tannins, finishing long with tons of bright, crunchy black fruit. 250 cases were made."
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "Showing similar to last year, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is a terrific wine offering full-bodied aromas and flavors of crème de cassis, tobacco leaf, incense, and gravelly minerality. Pure, balanced, and elegant, it's a terrific wine that will keep for two decades."
- Item #: i_239500Bottle Size: 750mlThe 2014 Cava Maciel Alba is pure Cabernet Sauvignon with a complex nose of cassis, black pepper, caramel, tobacco, chocolate, spices, and toasted intense. On the voluptuous palate, it shows good balance and smooth, structured tannins with a round and luscious body. It is ideal for pairing with sharp cheeses like brie, prime cuts of meat like rib-eye or top sirloin, and mushrooms.
- Item #: i_210200Bottle Size: 750mlChalk Hill's Estate is a compendium of unique microclimates, exposures and soil types. They are fortunate to be able to make everything from aromatic Sauvignon Blanc to big, bold Syrah. Nowhere is this ideal situation more evident than in their Estate Red, which is just that - the best blend of the red wines made from the estate. Each variety is perfectly matched to the vineyard site. The blend will also vary from year to year, as the vineyard yields and fruit quality depend greatly on the weather during springtime bloom and set, and during harvest. Cabernet and Malbec were the stars in 2016, and form the base of this Estate Red. Grapes grown on the rocky slopes of their Estate West vineyard make up the balance of the blend. This year, the final blend is comprised of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Malbec, 9% Petit Verdot, and 7% Merlot.
Chalk Hill's 2016 Estate Red opens with bold and intense aromas of blackberry, anise, tobacco leaf and dark chocolate. The palate is rich and savory, with layered flavors of black cherry, dark chocolate and leather with oak influences of vanilla and toast. Though firm, the tannins are rounded by a balanced acidity and a long and smooth finish. Though appealing in its youth, this wine will also age beautifully over the next 15 years.
- Item #: i_210490Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97Vinous Media: 96+Jeb Dunnuck: 100This limited-production and highly sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon represents the pinnacle of Chappellet winemaking, and embodies the elegant power and complexity of Pritchard Hill winegrowing. Hailed as “Napa’s Grand Cru” and recognized as one of the world’s preeminent sites for growing Bordeaux varietals, the Chappellets have been producing tantalizing wines in this area for over 50 years. Like the great Bordeaux wines that first inspired Donn Chappellet, this wine is crafted by blending Cabernet Sauvignon with other classic Bordeaux varieties.
The wine was aged for 22 months in 100 percent new French oak. Grown on the estate’s rocky, mountainside vineyards, Chappellet’s Cabernets have consistently displayed an ability to age for several decades. This gem earned the perfect 100-point score from Jeb Dunnuck.
JEB DUNNUCK 100 POINTS - "Also inky colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill comes from the estate vineyard on Pritchard Hill and spent 22 months in new French oak. It has a similar level of purity, as well as incredible minerality, to go with notes of creme de cassis, scorched earth, crushed rock, and graphite. Reminiscent of liking a rock with its insane level of minerality, this full-bodied beauty is tight and closed on the palate, yet is just loaded with potential. It's only for those with cold cellars and needs forgotten for 7-8 years, but will keep for 4-5 decades. Bravo!"
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "A blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot and 8% Malbec, the deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill has gone a little reticent at this stage, offering quiet notions of blackberry pie and blueberry tart with sparks of dried herbs, earth and savory/meaty suggestions. Full-bodied, rich and concentrated with a built-like-a-brick-house structure framing the massive fruit, it finishes long with exotic spices coming through."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96+ POINTS - "The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill is dense, powerful and voluptuous in the glass, and yet it very much retains a classic sense of structure that is one of the signatures of Chappellet wines. Dark red-toned fruit, licorice, smoke, dark spice and dried flowers all meld together. Sumptuous and forward, with terrific depth, the 2015 has a lot to offer. The 100% new French oak is beautifully integrated, even at this early stage. A year ago, the 2015 was hugely tannic. Since then, the tannins have softened and the 2015 has developed into a much more elegant wine."
- Item #: i_210440Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Jeb Dunnuck: 93JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "Lastly, the 2017 Cabernet Franc comes from Napa Valley (I'm not exactly sure where the fruit is from) and is all varietal. It's a more opulent wine than the Cabernet and has considerable fruit, richness, and depth on the palate, loads of dark, chocolaty fruit, and terrific notes of spring flowers, gravelly earth, forest floor, and hints of espresso. Beautifully done and balanced, with sweet tannins, it's a beautiful wine."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Cabernet Franc displays pronounced red and black cherries, mulberries and warm raspberries scents with underlying blueberries, pencil shavings and dried Provence herbs plus a waft of lavender. Medium to full-bodied, the palate offers mouth-filling red and blue fruits with a firm, grainy frame and bold freshness, finishing long and perfumed."
- Item #: i_210400Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96Vinous Media: 95Jeb Dunnuck: 95This limited-production and highly sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon represents the pinnacle of Chappellet winemaking, and embodies the elegant power and complexity of Pritchard Hill winegrowing. Like the great Bordeaux wines that first inspired Donn Chappellet, this wine is crafted by blending Cabernet Sauvignon with other classic Bordeaux varieties. The wine was aged for 20 months in 100 percent new French oak. Grown on the estate's rocky, mountainside vineyards, Chappellet's Cabernets have consistently displayed an ability to age for several decades.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill comes bounding out of the glass with exuberant black cherries, warm cassis, chocolate pie and blackberry preserves notes plus nuances of wild sage, forest floor and tobacco. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is elegantly played and refreshing with velvety tannins and a long mineral-tinged finish."
JEB DUNNUCK 95+ POINTS - "The flagship is the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill, and this cuvee just about always represents the pinnacle of mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. The 2017 is 100% estate Cabernet Sauvignon and reveals a deep purple color as well a stunning bouquet of blue fruits, burning embers, dark chocolate, sage brush, and crushed rocks. It's powerful, full-bodied, and concentrated, and the tannins clamp down on the finish enough to warrant hiding this beauty in the cellar for a solid 5-7 years. If drinking today, give it an hour or two in a decanter. It's another stunning wine from this estate."
ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill is a positively stellar wine in this challenging year. Creme de cassis, licorice, lavender, chocolate, spice and espresso all run through the 2017. This is an especially inky, flamboyant style for Chappellet, but all the elements come together very nicely."
- Item #: i_210410Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93+ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93+ POINTS - "The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Signature is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec. It was harvested from September 18 to October 30, and the alcohol weighed in at 14.5%. Deep garnet-purple in color, exuberant notes of warm plums, ripe black and red currants and black cherries come bounding out of the glass with suggestions of cedar chest, unsmoked cigars and beef drippings. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is simply singing with juicy black fruits and velvety tannins, finishing long with some baking spice hints coming through. Open for business now, this wine can easily be cellared for 20 years or more."
- Item #: i_210430Bottle Size: 750MLA blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 10% Malbec, 8% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc, this alluringly dark and spicy wine displays beautiful aromas of currant, cassis, sage and thyme, as well as hints of cinnamon and clove from barrel aging. On the palate, the tannins are impeccably balanced, adding depth to the lush ripe berry flavors, with layers of cola and grenadine emerging as the wine evolves in the glass.
- Item #: i_236040Bottle Size: 750mlSourced principally from Charles Krug's five family estates in Yountville, their Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon displays black fruit aromas with hints of brown sugar and toffee. This medium bodied wine showcases a rich melange of cherry, blackberry and black currant flavors set against a beautifully integrated backdrop of lightly toasted oak, all leading to a smooth lingering finish.
- Item #: i_210510Bottle Size: 750mlIt’s not always easy to find a fantastic California Cabernet Sauvignon at such a reasonable price-- but, it’s our goal every year for our December Wine of the Month. Once in a while, however, if we’ve been very good and Elf On The Shelf has nothing but positive comments to pass along to Santa, we find the right wine at the right time. This is that wine and we are completely besotted with it--- and believe you will be, too!
The nose is filled with cherry and red berry fruits, scents of rose petal and mixed florals with a touch of cigar box and earth. The fruit smells perfectly ripe! Upon tasting, the fruit flavors are clearly reiterated as more cherries and red berries dominate, bolstered by ample acidity and moderate tannins keeping the wine light on the tongue, uplifting, refreshing. California dust, mild earthiness and a soupçon of cured meats lend depth to the sweet fruits and moderating tannins and acidity. Extremely tasty and enjoyable with depth and flavors drinking way above its price point, this is certainly a holiday gift for all Cab lovers-- buy and enjoy with confidence!
About the Winery - Proprietor-négociants Chris Nickolopoulos and Elijah Pfister, through their parent company Nine North Wine Co. out of Napa, work with a handful of California’s most respected grape growers and wineries selecting the finest rows, plots, barrels and lots from each vintage. They strive to blend these selections into finished wines which carefully balance ripeness and acidity to achieve both regional typicity and unique, expressive flavor profiles. This is a story of two friends who started a wine company over many barbecues and countless bottles of wine.
“I grew up in a multi generational farming family. In 1974 at the age of five, I began to follow my grandfather every day on the family farm as he tended to his ranch. Over the years he taught me a lot about farming but more importantly about life. Then one day in my late teens, he told me it was time to get off the ranch and ‘go chase lions.’ I never asked him what he meant by that, because something inside me already knew. It’s been over 20 years now since he passed and I have been chasing lions ever since.”
For this unique blend, Chris and Elijah have been sourcing Cabernet and Merlot from the same vineyard sites for the last three years. When they first found the lot of Cabernet they thought, “Wow – that’s really good Cab from the central valley!” But they both felt it needed a little something to knock the dust off the fruit. They found a lot of Merlot (from Monterey County no less!), and blended in just a small percent. When they put their noses in the glasses, they knew they had a winner. Enjoy this crowd-pleasing wine with grilled hanger steak, burgers and grilled red meats.