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Napa Valley

William Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

William Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

A winery that narrowly avoided last October's fire, William Hill Estate has been turning out solid Napa Valley Cabernets for more than thirty years. The 2013 vintage is opaque in the glass with a violet to the edge to the rim. Dusty blackberries, plums, and black currants with a decidedly savory edge. In the mouth, its full of soft, jammy fruit neatly wrapped in velvet and toast. Nicely balanced despite a hefty 15.2% ABV—you'd never know it's there. Cedar, and a touch of mocha on the finish. Sample  William Hill Estate Winery 8.9 Points  ...

Robert Mondavi To Kalon Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Robert Mondavi To Kalon Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Tasted in Transylvania of all places at the ROVINHUD wine show, during a master class led by MW Patrick Farrell. The 2014 proves to be as sumptuous and profound as the 2013. Opaque as a starless night, it's a deep plunge into blueberry and crème de cassis bliss, followed by sandalwood and vanilla, dried mint and spice. Full, luscious and round on the palate—firm, chewy tannins hint at its youth—I'd give it another decade or so in the cellar. A wonderful expression of To Kalon. Sample Robert Mondavi Winery 9.6 Points...

Cave Dog Albariño 2016

Cave Dog Albariño 2016

Yet another unexpected find from acclaimed winemaker, Michael Havens. The 2016 Cave Dog Albariño, like his Godello is a complete surprise—pure sunlight streaming through a glazed window pane—the interplay of lightness and texture here is just beautiful. Equally nuanced on the palate with plenty of lemony acidic lift and mineral nuance. It’s not an overtly fruity wine, but there is elegance and finesse. Wet shell. Buddhas hand lemon. A garland of white flowers and fresh herbs. Cave Dog 9.1 Points...

Inglenook Reunion Reserve Cask Cabernet Sauvignon 1986

Inglenook Reunion Reserve Cask Cabernet Sauvignon 1986

A wine that's aged gracefully, Inglenook's 1986 Reunion Cabernet Sauvignon is line with other Napa Valley Cabs I've tasted from that era. Poured from a magnum, the nose is reveals dried rose petal, dust, leather and dried black currants. It's seems like it's reaching the end of its drinking window, though there is still plenty of enjoyment left in this bottle—lightly styled, with slightly faded black currants and cassis fleshing out the core along with black tea and dried fall leaves at the close. Inglenook 8.9 Points...

Matthiasson Napa Valley Ribolla Gialla 2013

Matthiasson Napa Valley Ribolla Gialla 2013

I was fortunate to have spent time with Steve Matthaisson and his wife, Jill Klein last Wednesday. The 2013 Napa Valley Ribolla Gialla had only been bottled that morning, and needs to rest for three to six months before it will be released. I did taste through several of their wines on this visit, including the 2012 Ribolla Gialla, which is outstanding. My advice to you: snap it up when it's available, this is small lot production at it's best and Matthiasson wines are unique and spectacular in every sense. Sample Matthiasson 9.3 Points...

Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

An fine pairing with this evening's steak fajitas. Grgich Hills wines have impressed me as more restrained stylistically speaking, the 2012 Cabernet is brooding, though neither glossy nor opulent as so many Napa Cabs can be. After an hour, it's finally relinquishing black currants and plums, incense and Christmas cake. On the palate, fine, silky tannins, the acidity is quite elevated, a degree more than I would like, I feel that it dominates the palate in this vintage, leading into finish of wet cedar. Grgich Hills Estate 9.1 Points  ...

Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Éloge 2010

Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Éloge 2010

Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Éloge 2010 is drinking beautifully, there are no hard edges in this substantive and baritone blend. Even the nose feels weighty, laden in steeped ripe blackberries, blackcurrants, black cherries, violets, anise and dried mint. The palate is big, encompassing, saturating, and glossy, edged in ripe tannins, and the perception of bottomlessness—Alice goes tumbling down the rabbit hole. Are you ready, Alice? I'll pour you a glass. Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards 9.2 Points...

Cardinale Red 1997

Cardinale 1997

Cardinale's Proprietary Red Wine is less evolved than some of the other 1997 Napa Cabs tasted in this particular lineup—a palate-saturating blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot is showing extraordinary range of savory tertiary notes—black olive, sun dried tomato, sweet tobacco and an umami-like soy quality, all of which glides over plum compote and black cherry. Surprisingly, too, is that there an impression of freshness despite more mature aromas, it's garnet-hued, and imbued with fine, velvety tannins. Cardinale Winery 9.3 Points...

Robert Mondavi To Kalon Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Robert Mondavi To Kalon Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Another heavy hitter from a lineup spanning four decades of Napa Cabs. The 2013 Robert Mondavi To Kalon Vineyard Reserve Cabernet is still quite primary. It's opaque, with a bold magenta rim. Structurally, opulent—the core furnished with juicy black fruit, ripe, glossy tannins and a hint of how it will evolve—a palate pleasing melange of anise, mocha, Madagascar vanilla, black pepper, and savory tones. There is more everything packed into it, like an overcrowded suitcase, something this writer knows about. Robert Mondavi Winery 9.4 Points...

Niebaum Coppola Rubicon 1997

Inglenook Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon Estate 1997

Classic Rutherford dust twining a startling degree of freshness. At 20 years on, the Niebaum Coppola Rubicon 1997 is opaque and ruby-robed, with a watery rim. 1997 was a watershed year in Napa, marking a shift toward extended hang times and higher alcohols, here it's at 14.1% and generously fruited with mulberries, black currants, anise and smoky embers. The palate expands, awash in black cherry compote bolstered by fine, firm tannins. When it does at last contract, an impression of dried oregano. Sample Inglenook 9.6 Points...