A terrific wine that proves you don’t have to spend a fortune for a top-flight Napa Valley Cabernet. It’s a deeply flavored, brooding young wine, filled with exciting blackberry, cassis and mineral flavors. Big in tannins, yet with a very refined, classy mouthfeel, it should begin to hit its stride after 2014.
With aggressive young tannins, this Cabernet just isn’t ready for prime time. It has a rich, molten core of blackberries and cassis, however, with enough enabling acidity to see it through. A classic Oakville wine that you should cellar until at least 2015.
Incredibly rich and toasty. Opens with a blast of charry oak, vanilla and caramel. Underlying fruit aromas range from lemons to apples, to peaches and tropical fruits. Drinks full-bodied and powerful, with a creamy texture and vibrant fruit. A sweet-sour note of lees shows up on the finish. —S.H.
I’ve always been partial to Magnificat, not only because it’s such a grand wine, but because the price is moderate for Napa, and they haven’t raised it for years. A Cabernet-based blend, it’s rich, soft, complex and chocolaty, with tiers of cassis and smoky oak.
An authoritative, distinguished Chard, from a producer with a good track record at this bottling. It’s ripe and immediately appealing, in the California style, but despite 100% new oak, it doesn’t taste oaky, and the citrus and tropical fruit flavors are balanced and complexed with wild herb and mineral notes. Should gain in interest over the next six years.
This opens with intense tropical fruit, marked by an especially large serving of pineapple, with a side of mango. The center is tight and somewhat lean, but the finish opens up into layers of fruit flavors, with an added dash of green apple.
The nose is closed, but the beautifully integrated fruit, oak and acidity make this a keeper for the next decade. The blackberry fruit is fairly highly extracted, with chocolate undertones on the finish. Let it settle for a year and enjoy.