- 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_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_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_214700Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 98Jeb Dunnuck: 99JEB DUNNUCK 99 POINTS - "The flagship is the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Poetry, which is based on 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, and the balance Merlot. Straight-up awesome notes of black raspberries, blueberries, smoked tobacco, violets, spice box, and gravelly earth as well as a bloody, meaty character all emerge from this magical wine. With full-bodied richness, ultra-fine tannins, flawless balance, and a great, great finish, it doesn't have the sheer opulence of the 2016 or 2015 yet shows a more classical, elegant, style that still packs ample richness and depth. It needs 4-5 years of bottle age and will keep for 20 years or more. It's a candidate for the wine of the vintage and is an incredible achievement for this team. Bravo."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Poetry gives up creme de cassis, baked plums, blueberry compote, chocolate box, earth and aniseed scents on the nose with wafts of cedar chest and pencil lead. Full-bodied, firm and grainy, it is concentrated, very classy and multilayered with great energy and a long finish."
- Item #: i_212630Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 96+Continuum is estate grown on their Sage Mountain Vineyard. It's location, high on Pritchard Hill along the eastern ridge above Oakville, overlooks Napa Valley and the San Francisco Bay. 38 acres of mature estate vineyard, planted in 1991 and 1996, with additional plantings in 2004 and 2010, together comprise 38 distinct vineyard blocks. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Merlot are grown from 1300 to 1600 feet in elevation, on western and southern facing aspects with slight northern and eastern slopes in places. This diversity of plantings on our volcanic soils are the essence of the complexity of Continuum.
On October 8th, wildland fires broke out and encircled the Napa Valley. At this time, two thirds of Continuum/s fruit was safely in cellar. When access to the property was deemed safe, the remaining one third of the fruit was harvested and then kept separately for evaluation. While lab results indicated the smoke taint to be below perceivable thresholds, Continuum's tasting panel showed it still gave negative influences to the tannins and finish. The decision was made to not use one drop of wine that was harvested after the fire began. The wine harvested before the fires benefitted from the many safeguards built into the estate winery such as generators and tank-dedicated pumps and temperature control systems that ensured each and every tank received uninterrupted care and tending throughout this turbulent period.
ANTONIO GALLONI 96+ POINTS - "The 2017 Proprietary Red Wine Sage Mountain Vineyard comes across as remarkably primary. Bright red-toned fruit and floral notes give the 2017 striking freshness as well as nuance. Deep and layered on the palate, with superb depth, the 2017 Continuum is easily one of the wines of the year. Even in the early going, it is truly magnificent."
- Item #: i_215342Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 93Vinous Media: 94Diamond Creek's second coolest micro-climate is their five-acre Gravelly Meadow vineyard. Originally a pre-historic river bed, this stony, gravelly soil drains rapidly and the vines struggle for moisture. Gravelly Meadow is their lowest yielding vineyard.
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow is ample and full in feel. Dark fruit, scorched earth, licorice, chocolate, spice, leather and menthol fill out the layers effortlessly. Somber and brooding, the Gravelly Meadow has a lot going on. It clearly needs time to be at its best. Firm hillside tannins add to a feeling of gravitas. There is real weight and substance here."
WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "Pretty sage and sassafras aromas lead off, followed by a core of gently mulled blackberry and bitter plum flavors. Edgy grip rides underneath on the finish, with black tea and singed alder accents trailing. Shows a smoldering intensity. Best from 2022 through 2038. 711 cases made."
- Item #: i_215343Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95+Wine Spectator: 94Red Rock Terrace, a warm microclimate, is 7 acres of north facing vineyard. The red tinted soil is high in iron content. The wine from Red Rock Terrace is the most accessible and earliest drinkable of the Diamond Creek wines.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95+ POINTS - "The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace is a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc and was aged for 22 months in French oak, 100% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, the nose opens with profound notions of blueberry preserves, Black Forest cake and black olives with hints of camphor, pencil shavings and fragrant earth. Full-bodied, rich, ripe and concentrated, it has a solid structure of grainy tannins and a lively line of freshness, finishing long and perfumed."
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "Dark and winey, this is packed with steeped blackberry and fig compote flavors, wrapped in licorice root, menthol, Turkish coffee and roasted juniper notes. The ample grip is well-embedded throughout, letting the fruit and earth components get to know each other. Built for cellaring. Best from 2022 through 2042. 598 cases made."
- Item #: i_215340Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 94Volcanic Hill is comprised of 8 acres of south facing hillside vineyard. It is the warmest of all Diamond Creek's micro-climates. The color of the soil is gray, and the consistency is that of fluffy, volcanic ash, originally deposited from the eruption of Mt. Konocti 8 million years ago. Volcanic Hill is the longest lived of the Diamond Creek wines. Their winemaker describes these wines as "full bodied, loaded with intense ripe berry fruit, cassis, violets and a smoky richness, finishing with good length and firm tannins." The Volcanic Hill bottling includes a small amount of the extra-ordinary Petit Verdot grape.
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "Bold, featuring dark plum, fig and blackberry compote flavors that jump to the fore, quickly harnessed by singed juniper, warm earth and licorice root notes. Shows good grip for a 2017. Best from 2022 through 2040. 464 cases made."
- Item #: i_220040Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 96 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "A gorgeously sweet nose of blackcurrants, dried flowers, Asian spice, and loamy earth and chocolate emerges from the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard. Deeply concentrated, with a light, elegant texture, beautiful tannins, and a great finish, this stunning wine is already beautiful but will shine for 15 years or more."
- Item #: i_237170Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 96JEB DUNNUCK 96+ POINTS - "The flagship cuvee, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvee is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in 75% new French oak. Rocking levels of cassis, graphite, vanilla, scorched earth, and tobacco all flow to a full-bodied Cabernet that has building tannins, a terrific, deep, layered mid-palate, and a great finish. It's still tight and backward on the palate, and in need of 4-5 years of bottle age, but it's a beautiful wine in the making."
- Item #: i_241970Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96Jeb Dunnuck: 97JEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "Made by Sam Kaplan and a blend of numerous top sites (Vine Hill Ranch, Dr. Crane, Las Piedras, Weitz, and Oakville Ranch), the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon reveals a deep purple color as well as smoking notes of cassis, black raspberries, tobacco leaf, lead pencil shavings, and beautiful gravelly minerality. Up with the top wines in the vintage, it has incredible purity, full body, ripe tannins, and a great finish. This brilliant 2017 is going to keep for 20-25 years or more."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, coming from Beckstoffer Dr. Crane, Beckstoffer Las Peidras, Oakville Ranch, Vine Hill Ranch and Weitz vineyards, the 2017 Memento Mori was aged for 22 months in 100% new French oak. Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon features notions of warm red and black currants, plum preserves and mulberries with touches of charcoal, tobacco leaf and sautéed herbs. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with muscular fruit with a sturdy frame of ripe, grainy tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing long and earthy."
- Item #: i_230590Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95+ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95+ POINTS - "Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard is a little closed to begin, offering subtle notes of crushed blackberries, kirsch, wild blueberries and mulberries with wafts of lavender, lilacs, tilled soil and cedar chest. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has bags of energy and freshness, filling the palate with crunchy red and black fruits and ripe, grainy tannins, finishing on a floral note. 307 cases made."
- Item #: i_249390Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 97While 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; they produced what was the single best wine we had on our entire trip! Mark Pulido and Donna Walker are dedicated to the perfection of every element needed to craft exceptional single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Their winemaker who helps them in this venture is the highly sought-after Thomas Brown, who also crafts the high scoring wines at Schrader, Maybach, and Outpost. Thomas has received numerous 100-point scores from both Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator! This bottling comes from the Melanson Vineyard, a property nestled between boulders clinging stubbornly to the steep slopes of Pritchard Hill, east of Oakville, and among some of the most notable vineyards in the Napa Valley, such as Ovid, David Arthur, Continuum, and Chappellet.
JEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "Even better, I suspect the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon might be a candidate for the wine of the vintage with 4-5 years of bottle age. From a vineyard on Pritchard Hill, just across from Colgin, and 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this inky colored beauty offers loads of blueberry and blackcurrant liqueur-like fruits as well as lots of spice, flowery incense, and subtle herbal undertones. Textbook Cabernet on the nose, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, building tannins, a stacked mid-palate, and a great, great finish. It's one of the few wines in the vintage that comes close to rivaling its 2015 and 2016 counterparts. The cellar will be your friend on this one, though, and a good 4-6 years of bottle age are warranted."
- Item #: i_249310Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 95While 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 95+ POINTS - "Lots of dark fruits, scorched earth, tobacco, and some Pauillac-like lead pencil notes emerge from the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is 100% varietal from a great vineyard in St. Helena. With medium to full-bodied richness, ripe tannins, and impressive balance, this savory, meaty Cabernet is going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and drink beautifully for 15-20 years or more."
- Item #: i_282800Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97+Vinous Media: 96Jeb Dunnuck: 96ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 97+ POINTS - "Made of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is deep garnet-purple in color and prances out of the glass with vivacious blackberries, crushed black cherries, warm black currants and red currant jelly scents plus exotic hints of cassia, cardamom, fenugreek and star anise with a waft of underbrush. Medium-bodied, the palate has fantastic energy and beautiful poise, with bags of bright, crunchy black and red fruit plus a firm, fine-grained texture, finishing long and spicy."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "Spottswoode's 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon has been simply tremendous on both occasions I have tasted it so far. Sweet red cherry, red plum, flowers and mint give the 2017 striking freshness to complement its decidedly mid-weight structure. The intense heat of the vintage caused ripening to slow down and yielded a wine with just 13.7% alcohol, which is low for both the estate and Napa Valley in general. Spottswoode was one of the first estates in the valley to adopt a more moderate approach to farming and that really paid off in 2017, as a wine of this level in that year could have only resulted from impeccable farming. In a word: magnificent!"
JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "Looking at the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, which was bottled two months prior to my tasting, it too has a Chateau Margaux-like complexity and elegance, with beautiful notes of crème de cassis, sandalwood, dried flowers, tobacco leaf, and lead pencil. Harvested all pre-fire, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, silky tannins, and remarkable purity, all making for a quintessential Spottswoode that's going to benefit from 3-5 years of bottle age and keep for 20+ years."
- Item #: i_275760Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "VHR's 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is racy, silky and exceptionally polished. Sweet floral, spice and earthy notes add character. In 2017, the Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is especially gracious, with less weight and overall richness than has been the norm in the past. In 2017, the team led by winemaker Françoise Peschon and vineyard manager Mike Wolf crafted an impeccable, beautifully balanced wine, but, at the same time, there is no getting around the fact that 2017 was a very challenging year, especially for valley floor sites. All things considered, this is a strong showing."