Everything Wine – Blog

NAPA NEXPLOSION: Unicorns and Stallions

Hi Everyone!

So many Cabs have snuck up on me in the Vintage Room that I have to tell you about all of them at once, apologies. We begin:

Colgin IX Estate Proprietary Red 2015, Napa. One of the most polite cult wines in Napa, Colgin has risen to the top of the heap without ever raising its voice or breaking a sweat. With her husband Joe, Ann Colgin has, over 25 years, made bottomless Cab-based wines (and great Syrahs) of quiet power and regal elegance. This 2015 IX Estate (named after the vineyard parcel) is two thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and one third Magic. Meaty blackberry with shorn pencils baking on a new road – it’s a little pro-tannin right now, the window opens in about 5 years and it closes… man, I don’t know, when the robots take over, I guess. 4 3-packs entered the province, I got one of them. 100 points Robert Parker, 100 points Jeb Dunnuck, 1 wooden 3-pack available, $873.99 +tax

Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 One-Liters, Napa. Holiday-sized Caymus in a brand new vintage, just in time. I haven’t tried it (just arrived) and there aren’t any major reviews yet, but here is my prediction: Delicious, round, thick Cab in a bottle size that will make you feel slightly smaller. 3 9-packs available, $120.99 +tax

Bond Quella 2014, Napa. The Quella vineyard sits in the hills, as all Bond vineyards do, with southwest exposure and steep angles. While it’s a tad bougie to call your vineyards “Grand Crus” (1. That’s not how it works and 2. Wow, and they’re all YOUR vineyards? What luck!), their output is simply undeniable. Bill Harlan’s terroir-driven cult winery has become one of the hardest unicorns to capture – I can’t tell you what I had to do to get this 3-pack, but the Centaur I defeated can’t tell anyone anything now. An infinite number of berries baked into an infinite chocolate cake. Intense minerality, drinking now despite the considerable tannins – the fruit is that intense. 97 points James Suckling, 96 points Robert Parker, 96 points Vinous, 1 wooden 3-pack available, $949.99 +tax

Raymond Generations Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa. Great bang-for-buck in this top-line Napa Cab, I mean it’s a big buck, but an even bigger bang. The Raymond family dates back in Napa to 1933 and the winery was founded in 1970, but it has seen a bit of a renaissance since its acquisition by French Winery Collector Jean-Charles Boisset, owner of Bouchard, Monmessin and Louis Bernard, among many others. The change injected energy and innovation into the quiet family winery, expanding their range and depth, and it seems to have also injected a not-insignificant dose of hallucinogens – visiting the winery is like stepping into Moulin Rouge on Mars. In full disclosure I don’t love everything they do, but I WAY love this. The Generations Cab – a tribute to the 5 generations of the Raymond family, puts the Class in Classic: winemaker Stephanie Putnam – formerly of Far Niente – has made a tribute to the Napa styles of old. This wine lets Cab be Cab – it’s full bodied, naturally, but still contains all the rough edges of a ripe Medoc and is bone dry, not round. Gorgeously angular. This is the style that made those French judges in the ‘70s think they were drinking good Bordeaux. 97 points Robert Parker, 2 cases available, $139.99 +tax

Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa. Another “classic” style from the grounds of the former Silverado Equestrian Center (hence the name) in the Oak Knoll district. Herbed cherries and cassis precede a lovely, graceful body that’s full but not fat, towards a bright but balanced finish, gulpable but far from facile. Far more graceful and complex than most contemporaries in its price point. About that: I often rant about my inability to find a good $50 Napa Cab…. Thanks Santa!! On sale until Christmas, 92 points Wine Enthusiast, 6 cases available, Reg price $54.99, Sale price $49.99 +tax

Joseph Phelps Insignia 2015, Napa. Another Napa legend that is having something of a moment in 2015, Insignia drinks like a coiled snake, currently, but will get itself elected President Of Your Cellar, in time. Berries and stones and pencils and flowers are all holding magnifying glasses, concentrating their beams on your face, the power on the nose can almost be seen. Wears its new oak like Cruella DeVille wears Dalmatians: proudly and impervious to opinions – the fruit is that intense. Tight right now but will blossom into a balanced, beautiful hand grenade. One of the greats. (97-100) points Robert Parker, 1 wooden 6-packs available, $409.99 +tax

Dominus 2014, Napa. What can I tell you about Dominus, the Petrus of Napa, that I’ve not yet uttered? The Mouiex family’s Napa venture is now safely baked into that region’s story, although the valley’s general style has, writ large, veered away from this austere, Bordeaux-ish Cellar Star. Dominus’ soul mate is Opus One (more on that below), they are two wines that eschew ripeness in favour of forever. That said, this 2014 will open its doors rather sooner than most other issues, in keeping with the sheer drinkability of the vintage. Not for the impatient soul but man, these guys know how to build a wine. Blackberry, cigar and baking spice on the nose. 97 points Robert Parker, 2 wooden 6-packs available, $399.99 +tax

Opus One 2010, Napa. Given the international frenzy surrounding this original collab between Mouton-Rothschild and Robert Mondavi that evolved into its own sentient being, I maybe should have opened this email with “I have Opus One 2010”? Still drawing from the best valley floor vineyards in Napa (a good portion of To Kalon goes in here), Opus One is titanic in many ways beyond its own legend: aromatic potpourri blends with herbs and black fruits – the nose is more generous that Dominus but the frame is just as bulletproof. This vintage is already a classic and yes, I have the original wooden box (although I did open it). 97 points Vinous, 96 points Robert Parker, 1 wooden 6-pack available, $849.49 +tax

Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa. The same vintage I’ve offered previously, but when Peter came for our Collectors Tasting we were sold out, and everyone was sad. Be not sad, for it has returned. 2 wooden 6-packs available, $199.99 +tax

Until next time, Happy Drinking!

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