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Wine from California (Napa)

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Wine from California (Napa)

Even though Napa Valley may only be 30 miles long and few miles wide, it is considered to be a primary winegrowing region in California. Due to diverse microclimates and soils throughout the region, Napa Valley grows about three dozens of grape varieties all year round. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Grigio are some of the most planted grapes in the region.

Napa Valley is one of the smallest winegrowing regions in the world. It contributes up to four percent in California’s wine production. At least 90 percent of the region’s wineries are family owned businesses. Over the years, Napa Valley has adopted meticulous environmental regulations for winegrowing regions in an effort to preserve the land and community.

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Alejandro Bulgheroni Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

It is hard to imagine with the Lithology range receiving 298 points out of 300 for the three single-vineyard wines, that there could possibly be a wine above them. But there is, and it is our Estate wine. Blended several times very intently by masters of their craft Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, this is the ultimate expression of our house’s work. Positive, full-bodied, and quite powerful, there’s the expected crème de cassis and blackberry from St. Helena Cabernets, with mineral, herb, subtle tobacco and vanilla, plum skins, and pie crust, purple flowers, forest-conifer notes, and very fine tannic structure. It is a magnificent, and magnificently elegant expression of this house, and when asked recently, Monsieur Rolland stated plainly to me, “oh yes indeed – this is the best one, the best yet…”


Review:

The flagship 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Alejandro Bulgheroni comes from a selection made by winemakers Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, mostly from Rutherford and Oakville fruit. Aged 20 months in 78% new French oak, it has incredible aromatics of black and blue fruits, spring flowers, and graphite to go with a massive, full-bodied, concentrated style on the palate that somehow stays graceful, weightless, and elegant. This tour de force in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is guaranteed to put a smile on your face over the coming 20-25+ years.

-Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points


 99 Points
Alejandro Bulgheroni Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

It is hard to imagine with the Lithology range receiving 298 points out of 300 for the three single-vineyard wines, that there could possibly be a wine above them. But there is, and it is our Estate wine. Blended several times very intently by masters of their craft Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, this is the ultimate expression of our house’s work. Positive, full-bodied, and quite powerful, there’s the expected crème de cassis and blackberry from St. Helena Cabernets, with mineral, herb, subtle tobacco and vanilla, plum skins, and pie crust, purple flowers, forest-conifer notes, and very fine tannic structure. It is a magnificent, and magnificently elegant expression of this house, and when asked recently, Monsieur Rolland stated plainly to me, “oh yes indeed – this is the best one, the best yet…”


Review:

Pure perfection in Cabernet, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Alejandro Bulgheroni is all varietal and comes two-thirds from Oakville with the balance from sites in St. Helena and Rutherford. Aged 20 months in 70% new French oak and put together by Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, it has an incredibly pure, full-bodied, massive yet weightless style that I suspect couldn’t be achieved anywhere outside of Napa Valley. Cassis, blackberries, leafy herbs, lead pencil shavings, and tobacco leaf are just some of the nuances here, and it’s full-bodied, deep, and concentrated on the palate while maintaining an ethereal, seamless, utterly perfect balance between its fruit, alcohol, tannins, and acidity. As good as it gets, it needs just 2-4 years in the cellar and will evolve gracefully for at least 20-25 years.

-Jeb Dunnuck 100 Points


 100 Points
Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon  99% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc.

Here the Cabernet comes to us typically flawless, and the wines are as such. There is blue fruit, blueberries, black plums, blackberries, and cassis to the aromas, as well as stones, mineral, chocolate, fresh tobacco, and subtle herbs. It is incredibly full-bodied, but at the same time effortlessly drinkable, with ultra-smooth tannins and a positive, long, upturned finish. 70-75% new French oak is the norm for us with Dr. Crane, and those flavors are absorbed to become a vanillin complexity, sweetness, and length. An unbelievable wine.


Review:

You don’t see many Cabernet Franc-dominated wines from this site, but the 2019 Cabernet Franc Lithology Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard is certainly impressive. Offering more herbal, chocolate, gravelly earth, and espresso aromas and flavors, it has full-bodied richness and, as expected, is a powerful, opulent expression of this noble variety. The blend is 83% Cabernet Franc and 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 20 months in 80% new French oak. It will benefit from short-term bottle age and drink nicely for 20 years.

-Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points




 97 Points
Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Beckstoffer Las Piedras Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Beckstoffer Las Piedras Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. 

From a St. Helena vineyard planted by early Napa settler Edward Bale more than 150 years ago, and later serving as the estate vineyard for the area’s first winery built by Henry Pellet in 1860, the Las Piedras site always gives us our prettiest wine. When placed next to Dr. Crane and To-Kalon wines, the Las Piedras show a certain elegance, with a very graceful entry and finely detailed complexity. We produce it with at least 75% new French oak, so there is a floral, spicy, and vanilla accent to the intense red and black fruits, cassis, and black cherry liqueur. What distinguishes this bottling is the beautifully fine tannins, delicate texture, and stunning purity. (Less than 100 cases made.)

Fermentation 70% Oak, 24% Concrete, 6% Puncheon


Review:

"The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lithology Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard comes from a world-class site outside of St. Helena and is all Cabernet that spent 20 months in 80% new oak. It offers a touch more red fruit as well ample cassis, spring flowers, loamy earth, and spice-like aromas and flavors. It has a wonderful sense of minerality, ultra-fine tannins, a dense, layered texture, and incredibly purity of fruit. It’s another just about off the charts release from this estate."

 - Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points

 98 Points
Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Alejandro Bulgheroni Estate Lithology is a series of single vineyard and AVA-designated wines made from select sites within Napa Valley. Lithology Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard is produced solely from fruit grown in the historic Beckstoffer to Kalon Vineyard planted in 1865 by W.H. Crabb and represents Oakville's famous bench land.


Review:

The 2019 Cabernet Franc Lithology Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard just shines for its bouquet, which is classic To Kalon with its floral, incense, spicy, red and black-fruited aromatics. These all flow to a medium to full-bodied, utterly seamless Cabernet Franc that’s balanced, has laser-like precision, and a great finish. This isn’t the biggest or richest wine in the lineup, but it’s Cabernet Franc in all its glory, with soaring aromatics and complexity, ample richness and texture, and a beautiful sense of finesse and elegance. It’s going to keep for 15-20 years with no issues.

-Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points

Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, the 2019 Lithology Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard is a barrel sample with a deep garnet-purple color. It needs a fair bit of coaxing to unlock scents of blackberry pie, warm blueberries and cassis plus suggestions of spice cake, underbrush, candied violets and chocolate box. The full-bodied palate brings forth loads of earthy layers to accent the rich, black fruits, framed by plush tannins and lovely freshness, finishing long and fragrant.

-Wine Advocate 97 to 99 points


The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Lithology Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard is one of the very finest wines I have tasted from Alejandro Bulgheroni's Napa Valley project. The 2019 To Kalon captures all the pedigree of this iconic Oakville vineyard, and yet also remains nuanced and wonderfully finessed for an intense wine. To Kalon Cabernets are rarely this elegant, but the Bulgheroni 2019 sure is.

-- Antonio Galloni 97 Points

 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 97 Wine Advocate: 99 98 Points
Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. 

We only produced a scant 50 cases of this wine this year, far too small an amount considering how great it turned out.  There’s that typical saturated to the rim deep purple color, with intense cassis, herb, and milk chocolate, bricks and forest floor, black plum pudding aromas.  In the mouth, there’s a great balance, with notable oak and vanilla notes intertwined with dense black fruits.  It’s an opulent and plush style, yet finishes with sweet grippy tannins.



 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 96 95 Points
Ancien Chardonnay Coombsville Haynes Old Block 2018

Ancien Chardonnay Coombsville Haynes Old Block is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.

Inspired by the classic and most revered Chardonnay vineyard in the world, Le Montrachet, Ancien winery utilizes the same classic techniques. It is fermented in tight-grained French Oak cask after a gentle squeeze as whole clusters. The wine is not moved through the fermentation and aging period, only pushed by inert gas in gentle fashion into the bottling tank. In vintages where the wine achieves good clarity through natural settling, the wine is not filtered – otherwise it undergoes a light polish to help reveal is core of fruit.


The effusive nose welcomes with layers of lemon meringue, ripe apple, citrus zest, honey and grape blossom. The palate is vibrant and fresh, and the richly textured mouth-feel is expansive. Baked apple tart and stone fruit emerge as this opulent wine reaches the depths of your palate, with further notes brioche. The finish is a focused amalgamation of minerality and ripe fruit. Give this cellar worthy Chardonnay time to open up and it will reveal increasingly lush and creamy layers as it evolves over minutes in the glass and the years in the bottle.


Argot Cabernet Sauvignon 1555 Oakville 2019

Argot Cabernet Sauvignon 1555 Oakville is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.


Hailing from the historic Bonny’s Vineyard in the heart of Oakville. Cabernet Sauvignon vines thrive in the gravel rich soils here adjacent to the Napa River riverbed. Roots plumb deep into the valley floor, while vine canopies harvest Napa Valley’s plethora of summer sunshine. These conditions conspire to deliver unerringly perfect Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Pouring a deep opaque red-violet, 1555’s Cabernet personality leaps from the glass balancing opulent fruit, damp earth, chilling minerality and an alluring spice note that keeps pulling us back for more. Exquisitely ripe tannins provide a refined, velvety structure, delivering the deep and seductively rich palate. The pedigree displayed in the glass is undeniable.


Review:

"Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon 1555 Oakville wafts sensuously out of the glass with redcurrant jelly, black raspberries and rose oil scents, followed by a cassis and black plums core, with emerging suggestions of cinnamon toast, cedar and pencil shavings. The full-bodied palate is fantastically fragrant, delivering red and black fruit layers accented by floral and exotic spice nuances, supported by super ripe, velvety tannins, finishing long and perfumed. 250 cases were made. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown"

- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (November 2021), 95+ pts

 Wine Advocate: 95
Argot Cabernet Sauvignon Bonnys Vineyard 2021


Among the tapestry of historic vineyards in Napa Valley, there are a few standout names, but even fewer sites, if any, involve the rare combination of legendary wine, romance, and a touch of mystery. Bonny’s Vineyard is such a place. This four-acre vineyard in the Oakville District is both a special piece of land and a unique part of Napa history. It was planted in 1974 by Justin Meyer, the winemaker and co-founder of Silver Oak Cellars, as a gift to his wife, Bonny. Ideally situated in a gravelly spot adjacent to Conn Creek on the valley floor, Bonny’s Vineyard was responsible for a memorable string of Silver Oak vintages over the course of two decades.

Justin Meyer stopped producing the Bonny's Vineyard designate after the 1991 vintage. After replanting in 1999, the family has again decided to make a single vineyard bottling. True to the orignal, this is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 100% American oak barrels for almost 3 full years. The nose exhibits dark fruit aromas of cherry and plum mingling with cedar and cardamom and a hint of eucalyptus. The palate is the heart of this wine, with concentrated fruit on the entry and luscious, silky tannins filling the mouth with an almost endless finish.


Argot Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvee Leo 2021

Our first wine in working with the vineyards owned by the Leonardini family of Whitehall Lane. A tribute to them and, more crucially, the numerous Leos—by both name and astrological sign—in our life.

Our most quintessential Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, exhibiting brilliant purity, profound depth of fruit, focused acidity and fine tannin structure. This is Rutherford in full flight as soaring black fruits push forth over subtle earth notes that all dazzle on an invigorating, lively palate structure. While each of Argot’s three Napa Valley wines offer their own distinct take on the variety and terroir, it is the Cuvee Leo’s that is the most classic and exemplary.


Argot Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Sage Ridge Vineyard 2019


A dramatic, ridgetop landscape — rising 1500 feet above Lake Hennessey, staring west over Pritchard Hill — persistently influenced by a push/pull draw between The Valley’s floor and Lake Berryessa. This wild, untamed, eastern frontier of Napa Valley, produces singular, terroir-driven wines of captivating beauty, power and lift. An unseasonably wet and cool springtime produced significant shatter at Sage Ridge in 2019, reducing our yields by 50%, leading to a particularly flamboyant edition of this wine.

An incomparable expression of Cabernet Sauvignon — massively pure red fruit character, delivered on a ribbon of ultra-suave tannins and gorgeously seductive high tones. The palate never relents its come-hither posture. Aromatically, puts forth an intriguing botanical complexity that is unmistakably site-specific. As our experience with this one-of-a-kind terroir deepens, we remain endlessly excited for the potential of these unique ridgetop vineyards. Get your hands on a bottle and pull the cork…a wine built for immense near-term gratification.


Review:

"Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Sage Ridge Vineyard opens with open-knit notes of plum preserves, baked blackberries and boysenberry jam, leading to a core of crème de cassis, mocha, camphor and Indian spices with a touch of unsmoked cigars. The palate is full-bodied, concentrated and dense with black fruit preserves, framed by soft tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long and very spicy. Only 75 cases were made. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown"

- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (November 2021), 95 pts

 Wine Advocate: 95
Argot Starstruck Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Argot Starstruck Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot (15-25 years old)

An explosive nose of Cabernet—singular only to the Napa Valley—introduces the 2019 Starstruck with classically elegant red and black Cabernet fruits, enhanced by notes of smoked sage and rosemary.  Red-fruits carry the mid-palate, dancing on a pillow of wonderfully sweet tannin and pie spice complexity.  As the wine transitions from the mid, acid emerges lifting Starstruck's massive palate into a warming finish that continues to reveal dark fruits and intriguing spice accents.  A gorgeous Cabernet that remains approachable, while its structure and earthy complexities keep bombast at bay.

 

Review:

  The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Starstruck has a classic Napa Valley Cabernet nose of crème de cassis, violets, lead pencil, and flowery incense. This carries to a medium-bodied, supple, nicely textured Cabernet with moderate tannins, terrific overall balance, and a great finish. It's ready to go and should keep for 10-12 years or more.

-Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points

 92 Points
Bella Union by Far Niente Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2021

Bella Union by Far Niente Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot.

The 2021 Bella Union Napa Valley Cabernet possesses beautiful and intriguing aromas of dark plum, black cherry, hints of clove and barrel spice. The palate is well-structured with velvety tannins complemented by generous layers of fruit flavors of blackberry, fig, and raspberry preserves that give way to a melting finish.

Review:

Fresh and exciting, with ripe black cherry forming a creamy base. Teeth-gripping, tongue-coating tannins soon relax and reveal peppered plum, sweet tobacco, and baking spices. Delicious, with an abundance of heart, the wine saturates the palate with cedar and mocha on the finish.

-The Tasting Panel 95 Points


 95 Points
Black Stallion Napa Valley Limited Release Red 2018

Black Stallion Napa Valley Limited Release Red. 

The winery takes its name from a major equestrian area that once occupied the grounds. Its calling card is Cabernet Sauvignon, made in a classic Napa Valley style that offers richness and finesse. While single-vineyard wines are occasionally bottled, most Black Stallion wines are made from small lots cherry-picked from the valley’s disparate winegrowing zones. These are then painstakingly blended to create luxurious, unforgettable wines that capture the depth and brilliance of Napa Valley’s diverse growing regions.


Review:

This blend is softly layered in dense, rich tones of plum and cherry, with a rounded approachability and well-integrated tannin and oak. Chocolate, leather and clove accent the finish.

-Wine Enthusiast 90 Points

 Wine Enthusiast: 90
Blind Justice Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Blind Justice Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Cabernet Franc.


The dream team does it again. Melka, Koschitzky and Sands have collaborated on a compelling Cabernet. The creamy mouthfeel is almost decadent, but there’s always a balance kept between opulence and energy. Wonderfully expressive in its aromas and flavors, it’s just swimming with dark cherry and plum on a bed of dried flowers and gravel with a hint of mint. Complex and impressive, as always.


 Review:

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Blind Justice Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard is creamy and super-expressive from start to finish. The balance of opulence and ‘energy here makes for an absolutely compelling Cabernet. Dark cherry, plum, tobacco, dried flowers, menthol and gravel lend quite a bit of complexity throughout. Impressive.

~ Antonio Galloni 95 Points

 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 95
Buccella Cuvee Katrina Eileen Napa Valley 2017

Buccella Cuvee Katrina Eileen Napa Valley is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Named after our first-born daughter, Cuvée Katrina Eileen is primarily composed of fruit from a vineyard in the Western Hills of Yountville, where yields are miniscule. The extremely rocky soil of the vineyard produces concentrated clusters of perfectly ripened Cabernet Sauvignon. In German, the name “Katrina” represents purity and fittingly, this wine is made entirely from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, providing a pure expression of this decadent varietal. It also reflects our daughter’s personality with flavors that are complex, unreserved and expressive.

Always a 100% Cabernet blend, our 2017 Cuvée Katrina Eileen is an opulent and mouth-enriching wine. Captivated by the inky-black color, luscious scents of dark espresso and cinnamon stick leap out, along with powerful elements of graphite and cassis. Remarkably rich and seamless, while boasting flavors of blueberry compote, dark chocolate and black raspberries, this is a compelling and luxurious wine focused upon velvety texture, silky tannins and incredible length. An intentional breadth on the palate and length in the finish are hallmarks of this wine.


Buccella Mica Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Buccella Mica Cabernet Sauvignon  is made from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Malbec.

Mica stitches together fruit from Oakville, Yountville, St Helena, and Coombsville in a way that embellishes the best qualities from each iconic AVA, without losing sight of balance. A generous and concentrated wine with black cherry and blackberry aromas with layers of dark chocolate, tobacco and licorice. The palate is fresh and vibrant with lush and smooth tannins and flavors of dark chocolate, fresh herbs and tobacco.

Buccella Mixed Blacks Amador County 2018

Buccella Mixed Blacks Amador County is made from 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 12% Petite Sirah, 2% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier.

For some time now, we have shared a love of Rhone Valley blends and their domestic counterparts. We wanted to experiment with some completely different varietals by putting our California twist on the beautiful interplay between the bright fruit and mineral characteristics of these blends while still maintaining the rich, fruit focused, layered lusciousness we enjoy. We are fortunate to be working with fruit from the exceptional Shake Ridge Vineyard in Amador County. It is a fantastically well-managed site with a diverse soil composition, producing a wine with an incredible flavor profile and depth.

Our Mixed Blacks is an exotic and constantly evolving wine crafted from unique varietals. The palate explodes with luscious flavors of bright boysenberry and blueberry cream followed by Chinese five spice, cinnamon and white pepper. Tantalizing notes of tangy pomegranate and zesty orange peel dance effortlessly on the nose with a beautiful floral essence of sweet lavender and a hint of rose petal. An uplifting presence of natural acidity and alluring minerality adds to the intrigue of this wine. The well-integrated sweet tannins give way to a long intoxicating finish.


Cardinale Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Cardinale Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot.

Super structured and with minerality to spare, this Cabernet Sauvignon offers a real presence on the palate from start to finish. Generous notes of dark chocolate balance beautifully with a blue and black fruit flavor explosion, finishing with a subtle whisper of rose petal.

Reviews:

So much crushed lead pencil, tile and dried flowers, together with blackberries and brambleberries. Full-bodied with round, polished tannins. Layered and so delicious. Black olives and graphite at the end. This potpourri of Napa cabernet character takes your palate on a tour of so many of the regions, including all the mountains, such as Howell, Veeder and Spring Mountain, as well as Atlas Peak, Stags Leap, Yountville and St. Helena. Precision and polish to the wine. Drinkable now, but better to hold.

- James Suckling 98 Points


Pure, classic California notes of crème de cassis, spicy oak, chalky minerality, graphite, and spring flowers emerge from the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot that's sourced from multiple mountain AVAs in the valley. Full-bodied and powerful on the palate, it has a deep, rich mid-palate, beautiful tannins, notable acidity, and a great, great finish. It's another brilliant wine from Carpenter that can offer pleasure today yet also evolve for 20-25 years or more.
-Jeb Dunnuck 98+ Points


 98 Points
Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Select 2018 (magnum)

Winery Notes:

Each year, we set aside the best barrels of our Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley to produce Special Selection. Distinguished by extremely fine, velvety tannins and enjoyable upon release or with aging. A wine of structure with intense concentration of supple flavors and dark fruits. Special Selection is the only wine in the world honored twice as Wine Spectator magazine’s “Wine of the Year.”

Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 (Jeroboam 3 liter)

Caymus has a signature style that is dark in color, with rich fruit and ripe, velvety tannins – as approachable in youth as in maturity. We farm Cabernet grapes in eight of Napa’s 16 sub-appellations, with diversification enabling us to make the best possible wine in a given year. This Cabernet offers layered, lush aromas and flavors, including cocoa, cassis and ripe dark berries.

 

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