- Item #: i_200100Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94Winemaker Chris Phelps grew up in the hills of the Livermore Valley, east of San Francisco, in a family of wine lovers. His early interest in winemaking grew out of his parents' practice of making a barrel or two of Zinfandel or Cabernet for family and friends. Chris attended UC Davis with the sensible plan of becoming a doctor. However, his love of wine and France pulled him into the school's Enology and Viticulture program, an internship at Louis M. Martini in Napa Valley, and the world of professional winemaking.
From there, Chris then embarked on a 16-month sojourn in Bordeaux, where he met Christian Moueix, who persuaded him to stay on to manage the 1982 harvest at Château des Laurets, in the Puisseguin-St. Emilion district of Bordeaux. It was during this trial-by-fire experience that Chris met his mentor, the brilliant Jean-Claude Berrouet, who served for 44 years as the winemaker of Chateau Petrus. To this day, Chris still credits much of his inspiration as a winemaker and his solid understanding of the technical challenges of the winemaking craft to Berrouet's tutelage. Upon returning to Napa Valley, Chris spent twelve years as winemaker at Dominus, as part of the Berrouet-Moueix team. He considers the 1991 and 1994 vintages to be among the greatest wines he has helped to create. He then spent seven years at Caymus Vineyards, managing all red winemaking from 1999 through 2002.
Ad Vivum (Latin for "toward wine") Cabernet Sauvignon is made from one small micro-block of vines at Sleeping Lady Vineyard, in Yountville, Napa Valley. The vines are located at the vineyard's uppermost western perimeter along the Mayacamas Mountains. Row orientation is southwestnortheast. The vineyard is sustainably and meticulously farmed by the Bettinelli family. The soil profile shows Keefers dark gravelly-sandy clay loam of alluvial origin.
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Sleeping Lady Vineyard is pliant, succulent and super-inviting. Dark cherry, plum, lavender and sweet spice notes are all given an extra kick of plushness in a gracious, silky Cabernet that captures the essence of Sleeping Lady. The purity of the fruit alone is striking. Perfumed, suave and wonderfully detailed, the 2016 is exquisitely beautiful. When I think of reference-point wines from Sleeping Lady, Chris Phelps' Cabernet is very often on top of my mind."
- Item #: i_200510Bottle Size: 750mlII is the culmination of the two worlds, the Alpha and the Omega, the Old World and the New World. Winemakers, Jean Hoefliger and Michel Rolland worked to create a wine that is not only opulent, fruit forward and generous, but also has the backbone of European acidity and elegance. A reflection of both worlds, II is a wine that is built to be approachable, both in taste and price, and consumed early.
A blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec, this wine has an explosion of fresh cherries on the nose, along with violets, hints of marzipan, cherry pits, Campari, vanilla beans, almond milk chocolate, and cloves. The palate is fresh upn entry, opening to structuring granular tannins, notes of chocolate sauce, cookie dough, fresh cherry, root beer, wild blueberry, candied red cherry, and pencil shaving.
- Item #: i_201290Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 91A blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot, the aromas coming from the glass after pouring the 2017 Quartet are delicate yet exuberant. Floral notes and red fruit aromatics are fresh and focused. Notes of red cherry, rose petal, black tea and bay laurel are among the first scents noted. The color of the wine is dark black-purple with a red note around the rim. This opaque dark hue belies the bright energy and focus of the wine. On the palate, the wine has a remarkable intensity, though it is balanced and well proportioned. Red raspberry, baked cherry, vanilla bean and crushed stones are some of the impressions as the wine hits the palate. The flavors build into an intense, long finish with polished tannins and lingering red fruit flavors.
ANTONIO GALLONI 91 POINTS - "The 2017 Red Blend Quartet is a delicious, easygoing red from Arietta. Expressive floral and savory notes add character and meld into a core of ripe red plum fruit. Cedar, sweet pipe tobacco, mint, crushed flowers and sweet spice all come together in a pliant, aromatic wine that is impeccable in its balance. This is a very pretty and expressive entry-level wine from Arietta that overdelivers."
- Item #: i_201540Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 95 PointsArrow and Branch proprietors (and Laguna Beach locals) Steve and Seanne Contursi share a great love for the wines of Bordeaux, particularly those produced with a large quantity of Cabernet Franc, such as Chateau Cheval Blanc. The couple sought out their Coombsville vineyard property with an eye to producing top-quality Cabernet Franc-based wines from Napa Valley. They bought the Arrow and Branch Vineyard in November 2007, as this vineyard was the source of Tony Soter's renowned and highly rated Little Creek Cabernet Franc. The Contursi's have maintained the organic farming and, through their work with the detail-oriented Viticulturalist Mike Wolf, are continually improving this wonderful vineyard site.
JEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "A blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot and the rest Merlot from the Lewelling and Stagecoach Vineyards and aged 20 months in 60% new French oak, the gorgeous 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label offers everything you could want. Blackberry, blueberries, incense, sweet spice and dried flower notes all soar from the glass and it's full-bodied, incredibly opulent and mouthfilling, all while never seeming heavy or cumbersome. It's a big Napa Valley fruit bomb done with class!"
- Item #: i_201560Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 96Arrow and Branch proprietors (and Laguna Beach locals) Steve and Seanne Contursi share a great love for the wines of Bordeaux, particularly those produced with a large quantity of Cabernet Franc, such as Chateau Cheval Blanc. The couple sought out their Coombsville vineyard property with an eye to producing top-quality Cabernet Franc-based wines from Napa Valley. They bought the Arrow and Branch Vineyard in November 2007, as this vineyard was the source of Tony Soter's renowned and highly rated Little Creek Cabernet Franc. The Contursi's have maintained the organic farming and, through their work with the detail-oriented Viticulturalist Mike Wolf, are continually improving this wonderful vineyard site.
The Contursi's also work with a select few vineyards, whose owners share the same dedication to meticulous farming. Located in Oakville, Vine Hill Ranch vineyard is tucked along the wooded hills of the Mayacama Mountain Range. This premier site has been in a family for several generations and is farmed with precision by Vineyard Manager Mike Wolf. Napa Valley growers—Hopper, Whitton, Hahn, Taddei—have farmed Vine Hill Ranch since 1884, documenting their annual plantings of grapevines, plums, pears and other crops. Following the footsteps of those pioneering families, Bruce Kelham purchased the land in 1959. He was a dedicated preservationist who moved to Napa to cultivate wine grapes after playing a role in establishing the Point Reyes National Seashore. Kelham's descendants, the Phillips family, began cultivating fine wine grapes here in 1959 and, with the founding of Phillips Family Farming. The vineyard is on a sloping grade, and with its deep, loamy soils and mature vines, yield expressive dark and rich fruit flavors with beautiful energy for this single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, with the first vintage from 2017.
JEB DUNNUCK 96+ POINTS - "Coming all from the Clone 4 of Cabernet Sauvignon and a great site in Oakville, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Vine Hill Ranch Vineyard sports an inky purple color as well as a deep, powerful, mineral-laced bouquet that include lots of currants, leafy herbs, crushed rocks, and lead pencil shaving. It needs 4-5 years of bottle age, but it's a magical 2017 that's well worth seeking out."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Vine Hill Ranch is made of 100% Clone 4 Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in 100% new French oak. Deep garnet-purple colored, it is a little closed to begin, opening out to notions of baked cherries, cassis and mulberries with touches of unsmoked cigars, tar, chargrill and sauteed herbs plus a waft of tapenade. Full-bodied and laden with loads of preserved cherries and savory layers, it has a sturdy frame of chunky tannins and a lively lift to the finish."
- Item #: i_201520Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 95Jeb Dunnuck: 98Arrow and Branch proprietors (and Laguna Beach locals) Steve and Seanne Contursi share a great love for the wines of Bordeaux, particularly those produced with a large quantity of Cabernet Franc, such as Château Cheval Blanc. The couple sought out their Coombsville vineyard property with an eye to producing top-quality Cabernet Franc-based wines from Napa Valley. They bought the Arrow & Branch Vineyard in November 2007, as this vineyard was the source of Tony Soter's renowned and highly rated Little Creek Cabernet Franc. The Contursi's have maintained the organic farming and, through their work with the detail-oriented Viticulturalist Mike Wolf, are continually improving this wonderful vineyard site.
JEB DUNNUCK 98 POINTS - "The 2016 Red Wine flirts with perfection and should be snatched up by savvy readers. Tasting like a great vintage of Cheval Blanc with its incredible perfume of crème de cassis, spring flowers, and forest floor, it has beautiful complexity, medium to full body, thrilling purity and elegance, and a great, great finish. This beauty is all about complexity and nuance, yet it has loads of intensity and depth, silky tannins, and the class to keep for two decades. The blend is 50% Cabernet Franc, 24% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Petit Verdot, all aged 22 months in barrel. Hats off to winemaker Jennifer Williams for this brilliant wine!"
ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "Jen Williams seems to have really found her stride at Arrow and Branch. The 2016s represent another major step forward. The wines are bold, racy and irresistibly delicious."
"Arrow and Branch's 2016 Red Wine is built on a core of Cabernet Franc from two sites in Coombsville. Aromatically expressive and ample, the Red Wine is superb. Red cherry, plum, espresso, grilled herbs and flowers build as this beautifully layered wine shows off its personality. The 2016 is powerful and concentrated, yet also retains quite a bit of aromatic lift that gives the wine poise and a sense of balance. It is a stunning wine in every way."
- Item #: i_201550Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93+Vinous Media: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 95Arrow and Branch proprietors (and Laguna Beach locals) Steve and Seanne Contursi share a great love for the wines of Bordeaux, particularly those produced with a large quantity of Cabernet Franc, such as Chateau Cheval Blanc. The couple sought out their Coombsville vineyard property with an eye to producing top-quality Cabernet Franc-based wines from Napa Valley. They bought the Arrow and Branch Vineyard in November 2007, as this vineyard was the source of Tony Soter's renowned and highly rated Little Creek Cabernet Franc. The Contursi's have maintained the organic farming and, through their work with the detail-oriented Viticulturalist Mike Wolf, are continually improving this wonderful vineyard site.
JEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label comes mostly from the Lewelling and Criscione Vineyard (which was planted by Tony Soter in the early 2000s), with a touch from the Dr. Crane vineyard outside of Saint Helena. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 22 months in barrel, this rocking, sexy 2016 gives up loads of black currants and black raspberry-like fruit intermixed with intriguing notes of tobacco, spice, and incense aromas and flavors. It's complex, full-bodied, elegant, and just does everything right. I'd be thrilled to drink bottles over the coming 15 years or more, and while it's not inexpensive, as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon goes, it's an incredible bottle of wine."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "Jen Williams seems to have really found her stride at Arrow and Branch. The 2016s represent another major step forward. The wines are bold, racy and irresistibly delicious."
"The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label is dark, powerful and resonant, with tons of texture and nuance. Black cherry, plum, charcoal, menthol, chocolate and licorice infuse this sumptuous, potent Cabernet Sauvignon. All the elements are wonderfully fused together. The Black Label is a blend from two sites in St. Helena. In 2016, it is gorgeous."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93+ POINTS - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Lewelling, Criscione and Beckstoffer Dr. Crane vineyards, aged 20 months in 60% new French oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple colored, it gives up lovely notes of crushed black cherries, blackberries and cassis with hints of plums, black pepper, cigar boxes and lavender with nuances of smoked meats. Full, firm and with beautiful texture of fine-grained tannins, it has great freshness and depth, finishing long and earthy. 200 cases produced."
- Item #: i_201105Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96+ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 96+ POINTS - "Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon gives up exuberant crushed blackcurrants, warm plums, wild blueberries and cloves with suggestions of violets, tilled black soil, tar, chargrill and cedar chest with a waft of unsmoked cigars. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm, grainy and refreshing with incredible intensity, finishing very long and earthy."
- Item #: i_208450Bottle Size: 750mlWine Enthusiast: 95 PointsWINE ENTHUSIAST 95 POINTS - "Sinewy, earthy and full of spice, this well-made wine is lush and sumptuous, with firm, focused tannins and integrated oak. Black cherry, cinnamon and nutmeg meld on the structured, fullbodied palate, with a graceful hint of dark chocolate on the finish. This will do well in the cellar; enjoy 2025–2030."
Many years of farming and crafting Cabernet Sauvignon in the Napa Valley across appellations as diverse as Oakville, Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District and St. Helena, has helped the Nickel Family to intimately know the very best sites — each with its defining characteristics — from which to create Bella Union Cabernet.
Upon first sip, Bella Union offers exuberant plum and black cherry aromas, signature notes of the Bella Union Vineyard. The wine is luscious with supple tannins that provide a framework for longevity. The finish lingers with persistent fruit flavors and notes of toasty oak, black pepper and espresso bean.
- Item #: i_275130Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Wine Spectator: 90Jeb Dunnuck: 91JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "The entry-level 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon lacks the intensity and depth of the Lynch Family Vineyard, yet has attractive blackcurrants, blueberries, cedarwood, and graphite aromas, medium to full body, supple tannins, and outstanding balance. It's a beautiful wine to drink over the coming 10-15 years."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "Deep purple-black in color, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is a little closed at this youthful stage, giving notions of black and red cherries, black plums and blackcurrants plus wafts of mossy bark and spice box. Medium-bodied, it has a good amount of uncomplicated flavors in the mouth, framed by rounded tannins and finishing spicy."
WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "A ripe and polished style, with cocoa-edged plum and blackberry preserve flavors carrying through a tobacco- and toast-filled finish. Drink now through 2024."
- Item #: i_204040Bottle Size: 750mlAbove the Fog: his one-of-a-kind Cabernet blend showcases three renowned Beringer Howell Mountain Vineyards: Bancroft Ranch, Steinhauer Ranch and Rancho del Oso. Known for the intensity of fruit, volcanic soils and robust tannins, this mountain wine is built to last. Only 20 cases produced!
- Item #: i_277886Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95+Jeb Dunnuck: 97 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "I was able to taste to two vintages of the Private Reserve, and the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve comes from a vintage loved by the estate. The final blend is the normal 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot brought up in 85% new French oak. This full-bodied, ripe, voluptuous beauty shows the vintage to a T, offering a blast of sweet blackcurrants, licorice, ground herbs, and graphite aromas and flavors. Blockbuster styled, with full body and an expansive, sexy texture, it has the depth and density to continue drinking brilliantly for 20+ years."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95+ POINTS - "Containing the tiniest splashes of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve has a deep garnet-purple color and nose of plum preserves, baked blackberries and cassis with hints of menthol, sandalwood and chocolate box. Full-bodied with soft, seductive tannins and a lively backbone supporting the generous, ripe, opulent fruit, it has a decadent spiciness and great length."
- Item #: i_204410Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97+Vinous Media: 98Jeb Dunnuck: 100JEB DUNNUCK 100 POINTS - "Moving to the single vineyard releases, the 2016 Melbury is pure perfection in a glass and is the finest vintage of this cuvee I've tasted. Awesome notes of cassis, blackcurrants, toasted bread, white flowers, and spice give way to an ethereal, seamless, yet opulent wine that has that rare mix of power and elegance possessed by all truly great wines. Full-bodied, concentrated, and with building yet perfectly ripe tannins, do your best to give bottles 4-5 years of bottle age. It will evolve effortlessly for 30 years or more."
ANTONIO GALLONI 98 POINTS - "The 2016 Melbury is powerful and yet medium in body, with layers of exotic spice, dark red cherry, blood orange, leather, licorice and star anise that give it an exotic character I don't remember seeing in the past. Despite its mid-weight profile, the Melbury has plenty of supporting structure. Over the last year, the Melbury has gained a bit of weight, but remains quite focused. Sometimes the Melbury suffers by being the first vineyard-designate poured at Bond. Its remarkable allure is evident nonetheless. This is an impressive showing."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 97+ POINTS - "Overlooking Lake Hennessy up on Pritchard Hill, Melbury vineyard has produced a beautifully elegant and vivacious signature in 2016, which clearly reveals the personality that this incredible site tends to want to give. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Melbury comes bounding out of the glass with expressive black and red currants notes followed by wild blueberries, warm plums, pencil shavings and wild sage plus wafts of lavender and crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is practically electric with energetic fruit, framed by firm, grainy tannins and invigorating freshness, finishing long and minerally."
- Item #: i_204500Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97+Vinous Media: 97ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 97+ POINTS - "Very deep purple-black colored, the 2014 Pluribus offers up notions of crushed black plums, black currant cordial and pencil shavings over a meaty core of chargrill and beef drippings plus hints of Chinese five spice and underbrush. Full-bodied and firmly framed with chewy tannins and a lively backbone, it features plenty of earthy and savory layers, finishing long and minerally."
ANTONIO GALLONI 97 POINTS - "The 2014 Pluribus is stellar. Once again, I am deeply impressed with the Pluribus. Inky blue/purplish fruit, lavender, mint, plum and licorice infuse this super-expressive, resonant Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Pluribus is the most improved Bond wine. This flight of 2014 makes that quite evident."
- Item #: i_205880Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsBootleg Red is a new production by Jackson Family Wine Collection; these are the people who own and produce awesome estate wines like Freemark Abbey, La Jota, and StoneStreet just to name a few. Trust us; there are too many "household" names you would recognize for us to list them all but you now have an idea of the quality they bring to the table.
This offering is their entry to the California "Red" category, a section of the domestic wine industry that has seen tremendous growth with labels such as "The Prisoner" becoming brands that everyone who drinks California wine has heard of. In terms of sales this category is as hot as Cabernet Sauvignon! This particular wine is a blend of 37% Merlot, 33% Petit Sirah, and 30% Syrah.
So what sets this apart from other blends and why should you try it? Fruit sources; using Vineyards they own, the Jackson Family sourced grapes from prestigious sub-AVAs within Napa like Yountville, Howell Mountain, and Mt Veeder, with the balance of fruit (18%) coming from their Mendocino Vineyards. The blending components going into this Red comes from outstanding vineyards of whom we all love. Plain and simple, you have outstanding winegrowing, winemaking and wine-blending with Bootleg Red!
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS! "It reveals a healthy purple color as well as a terrific bouquet of sweet creme de cassis, toasted bread, Asian spices, lavender, and dried herbs. With a fabulous texture, full body, notable purity of fruit, and a rich yet graceful style on the palate, it's one seriously hedonistic yet balanced, complex red that knocks it out of the park. Drink this rocking little gem any time over the coming 4-6 years. (I wouldn't be surprised to see it keep longer.)"
- Item #: i_206430Bottle Size: 750mlSituated in the mountains above Conn Valley and near the base of Howell Mountain, the Buehler Estate vineyards are planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon. The juxtaposed topography of steeply sloped hillsides with eastern exposures against very gently sloping hills with southern and southwestern exposures hints at the tumultuous geologic past of the Estate; extensive faulting resulted in at least three distinct soil types. Not surprisingly, grapes grown on the different soils give different characteristics to the finished wines; these differences are often as great as the differences across various Bordeaux varieties and allow Buehler to blend within the variety of Cabernet Sauvignon to craft a truly multi-faceted Estate wine.
The aromas hint at black fruit: ripe black cherries and black plums. Enticing barrel qualities of cola and spice complement the fruit aromas. On the palate, the wine shows layers of deeply extracted flavors that only mature hillside vineyards can render. Buehler's Estate Cabernet is the most age-worthy wine they produce and may be enjoyed anytime over the next 15 years.
- Item #: i_206410Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 96ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "Buehler is another estate in Napa Valley that doesn't get anywhere near the recognition it deserves. The striking property is perched atop Conn Valley in one of the most idyllic spots in all of Napa. There are three Cabernets, all of them notable. The Papa's Knoll is the most potent of the three, but all the wines are marked by a real sense of finesse that is impossible to miss."
"The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Papa's Knoll emerges from a single block in the estate. It is the richest and most voluptuous of these wines, but it balances that fruit intensity with tons of energy. Ripe red cherry, blood orange, cinnamon, mint and star anise give the 2018 its decidedly exotic personality. Ripe and expressive, with soft tannins, the 2018 is an absolute joy to taste."