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Don Gillette
April 1, 2014 | Don Gillette

Napa Valley Taster's Choice: A Best of the Best of Recent NVWE Cab Tastings

A Napa Cabernet vintage moves through the marketplace with the predictability of a tide, and although Spring and Fall are the primary release periods, as many as five vintages may be in play at any given moment. As with waterways there are ebbs and floes, and broad patterns emerge which can distract the attention. It takes careful panning to reveal the gold nuggets hidden therein.

At NVWE we deal in small production wines. Currently, the first 2012 Cabs are just making their appearance. 2012 looks to be an abundant year of fine quality. At the same time the final stragglers from 2009s are reaching the shelves. The very fine, but tiny 2010 Cab vintage has been in full flood, but the best 2010s disappear as quickly as they are released. The more problematic and equally tiny 2011 harvest waits in the wings, with wines from most of the important properties not yet released.

We taste dozens of wines each week at our store and attend trade tastings throughout the year. The best Napa events tend to showcase a specific appellation. The Oakville Growers tasting comes this April, while the Coombsville, Howell Mountain and Yountville events were held in the very recent past. Facing back-to-back small harvests we must make quick purchasing decisions, or lose the opportunity. What follows is a brief distillation of wines that have recently impressed us. As a group they are essentially Reserve Level in quality, if not necessarily in price. Not all of these Cabs are released as yet, although many are to be released this April. We will only receive tiny quantities of some, and substantial quantities of only a few. The wines tasted are listed by appellation and alphabetically. Prices for wines that are currently available can be found on our website. Feel free to call about any others.

2011 Midsummer Cabernet Sauvignon Haystack Peak Vineyard

2010 C. Beck Cabernet Sauvignon Barlow Vineyard

2011 Faust Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Kobalt Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Mi Sueno Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Sciandri Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 

2010 Wallis Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Wallis Family Little Sister Proprietary Red Wine

2010 Arkenstone Obsidian Proprietary Red
2010 Michael James Cabernet Sauvignon Beatty Ranch
2010 Pina Cabernet Sauvignon Buckeye Vineyard
2010 Red Cap Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Saunter Cabernet Sauvignon Eagle Summit Vineyard
2009 Spence Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Spence Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 

2010 Mount Brave Cabernet Sauvignon 

2011 Drinkward Peschon Cabernet Sauvignon Entre Deux Meres
2011 Elizabeth Spencer Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Fifty Rows Galleron Cuvee Proprietary Red
2010 Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon
2009 Krutz Family Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard
2009 Sequum Cabernet Sauvignon 4 Soils
2010 Steelmark Cabernet Sauvignon Small Lot Red Walnut Vineyard
2011 Whitehall Lane Napa Valley
2009 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

2010 Darms Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Bonne Passe Vineyard
2009 Darms Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Linda's Hillside Vineyard

2010 Paradigm Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Bell Cabernet Sauvignon Clone Six George III Vineyard
2011 McGah Family Cabernet Sauvignon Scarlett
2010 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Millennium Vineyard

2010 Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
2010 Keenan Mernet Proprietary Red Wine

2010 Malk Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Boeschen Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Revana Estate  Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Sequum Cabernet Sauvignon Kidd Ranch
2011 Vineyard 29 Cru Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Leonardini Vineyard
2101 Young inglewood Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Blankiet Rive Droite Proprietary Red
2010 Corley Family Cabernet Sauvignon State Lane Vineyard
2010 Laird Jillian's Proprietary Red
2010 Rocca Cabernet Sauvignon Grigsby Vineyard



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