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Just Released: 6 Sauvignons From Pasternak’s Portfolio

Just Released: 6 Sauvignons From Pasternak’s Portfolio

Like many of the major importers, Pasternak has a portfolio on wine producers from around the world, and this summer they are promoting a variety of sauvignon blancs from both sides of the equator.

Let’s start with those from the home of sauvignon blanc – France

The 2010 La Jaja de Jau Cotes de Gascogne sauvignon blanc ($9) is from the Southeast wine region of France, but it would be more at home with the foods of Alsace. It is very herbal and grassy in the nose, quite crisp and has flavors and aromas of fermented sauer kraut. That is a good thing, as this wine wood pair deliciously with chicken sausages in a semi-classic choucroute garni.

The 2011 La Petite Perriere Vin de France sauvignon blanc ($11) also has a lot of green notes, but with more of a fruit flavor than an herbal/grassy one. It has softened notes of creaminess, is very smooth with a hint of mint and is well-balanced. This would be a great match with fresh scallops.

Finally, from Bordeaux, where some of the best sauvignon blanc blends in the world are made, comes the 2011 Barons de Rothschild Bordeaux Reserve Speciale ($14), which is full, juicy, a little grassy and a little earthy. This wine would be great with cooked green vegetable dishes.

Turning to the new world, the 2009 Morro Bay “Split Oak” California sauvignon blanc “sur lie” ($12) – can you say all that without gasping for air? – is a very civilized sauvignon. It is creamy with a little cheesy/whey flavor blended in with some nutty pistachio tastes. Sounds weird, but it tastes great. I would pair this with a broiled or baked Dover sole rolled in nuts and dried herbs.

From Chile, comes the 2011 Los Vascos Casablanca sauvignon blanc ($9), another Rothschild property. This one is medium grassy with a moderate body and a crisp lime/citrus finish. This would go well with grilled lake fish or even breaded shrimp.

Finally, from the newfound home of sauvignons, comes the 2011 Goldwater Wairau Valley Marlborough sauvignon blanc ($16). It is medium-bodied, has lots of green fruits – tart apples and limes – with a creamy, yet minerally, texture. It may be a Southern Hemisphere thing, but I also see this one with grilled fish and breaded shrimp.


10 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons to Try Right Now

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Cabernet sauvignon is the undisputed heavyweight and reigning red grape champion of the world, responsible for producing rich, bold and powerful wines with immense aging potential. In France’s Bordeaux region, the grape is the key ingredient next to merlot for most iconic producers. But in California’s Napa Valley, cabernet sauvignon is the unquestionable king of the hill, practically synonymous with red wine for most American wine drinkers.

It wasn’t always that way, however. In 1933, just after Prohibition ended, there were fewer than 100 acres planted with the grape in California. By 1991, according to “The Oxford Companion to Wine” (fourth edition), some 32,000 acres of cabernet vines were encroaching on zinfandel, which was also widely planted. As of today, the total plantings of cabernet are nearing 100,000 acres in California, of which more than 21,000 are in Napa alone.

Stylistically, cabernet sauvignon wines vary from producer to producer, but in Napa, its unmistakable imprint is power and intensity, often bursting out of the glass with lavish black fruit, cassis, graphite, earth and flashy cedar and oak spices. Its thicker grape skins imbue cabernet-rich wines with firm, sturdy mouth-drying tannins that can be plush and silky or chewy and robust.

The greatest challenge for Napa producers is not to let the grapes become overripe. Two of the Valley’s most respected cabernet makers are Chris Phelps (Ad Vivum Cellars) and Frenchman Philippe Bascaules (Chateau Margaux). Both men work in tandem at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook in Rutherford, and although both employ French techniques—Phelps learned to make wine at Petrus—they share a necessary California-focused philosophy of never picking too late because overripe grapes lack complexity.

The intense sun and heat in Napa make it easy to overripen grapes if vineyards aren’t properly managed. When grapes are so ripe they’re practically falling off the vine, “You don't have any exchange between the berry and the stem, then you start to have some oxidation, which means you lose the freshness, flavors and the taste of the place and the variety,” says Bascaules. “Overripeness is the great equalizer,” says Phelps. “I think the great tragedy would be that all wines taste the same someday.”

Ehlers Estate winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz reminds us that although Napa is a small valley compared with other wine regions, “it offers a great variability in climate, soils, elevations and sun exposures that make every single appellation very defined in regards to style,” she says.

Making Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my winemaking career,” says Amici Cellars winemaker Jesse Fox. “There are lots of wineries making Beckstoffer To Kalon and Oakville Ranch cabs that sell north of $200, and it’s a real privilege to be a part of that group, but the reach we have producing an under-$50 Napa Valley cab is extensive. It’s the kind of bottle I feel good recommending to my friends and family.”

And on that note, these are 10 noteworthy Napa cabernets from some of today’s best producers. Starting at $50, on up to the “splurge” category, these are classic examples that are lovely now but will reward with deep complexities if you have the patience to cellar them for a while.


10 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons to Try Right Now

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Cabernet sauvignon is the undisputed heavyweight and reigning red grape champion of the world, responsible for producing rich, bold and powerful wines with immense aging potential. In France’s Bordeaux region, the grape is the key ingredient next to merlot for most iconic producers. But in California’s Napa Valley, cabernet sauvignon is the unquestionable king of the hill, practically synonymous with red wine for most American wine drinkers.

It wasn’t always that way, however. In 1933, just after Prohibition ended, there were fewer than 100 acres planted with the grape in California. By 1991, according to “The Oxford Companion to Wine” (fourth edition), some 32,000 acres of cabernet vines were encroaching on zinfandel, which was also widely planted. As of today, the total plantings of cabernet are nearing 100,000 acres in California, of which more than 21,000 are in Napa alone.

Stylistically, cabernet sauvignon wines vary from producer to producer, but in Napa, its unmistakable imprint is power and intensity, often bursting out of the glass with lavish black fruit, cassis, graphite, earth and flashy cedar and oak spices. Its thicker grape skins imbue cabernet-rich wines with firm, sturdy mouth-drying tannins that can be plush and silky or chewy and robust.

The greatest challenge for Napa producers is not to let the grapes become overripe. Two of the Valley’s most respected cabernet makers are Chris Phelps (Ad Vivum Cellars) and Frenchman Philippe Bascaules (Chateau Margaux). Both men work in tandem at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook in Rutherford, and although both employ French techniques—Phelps learned to make wine at Petrus—they share a necessary California-focused philosophy of never picking too late because overripe grapes lack complexity.

The intense sun and heat in Napa make it easy to overripen grapes if vineyards aren’t properly managed. When grapes are so ripe they’re practically falling off the vine, “You don't have any exchange between the berry and the stem, then you start to have some oxidation, which means you lose the freshness, flavors and the taste of the place and the variety,” says Bascaules. “Overripeness is the great equalizer,” says Phelps. “I think the great tragedy would be that all wines taste the same someday.”

Ehlers Estate winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz reminds us that although Napa is a small valley compared with other wine regions, “it offers a great variability in climate, soils, elevations and sun exposures that make every single appellation very defined in regards to style,” she says.

Making Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my winemaking career,” says Amici Cellars winemaker Jesse Fox. “There are lots of wineries making Beckstoffer To Kalon and Oakville Ranch cabs that sell north of $200, and it’s a real privilege to be a part of that group, but the reach we have producing an under-$50 Napa Valley cab is extensive. It’s the kind of bottle I feel good recommending to my friends and family.”

And on that note, these are 10 noteworthy Napa cabernets from some of today’s best producers. Starting at $50, on up to the “splurge” category, these are classic examples that are lovely now but will reward with deep complexities if you have the patience to cellar them for a while.


10 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons to Try Right Now

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Cabernet sauvignon is the undisputed heavyweight and reigning red grape champion of the world, responsible for producing rich, bold and powerful wines with immense aging potential. In France’s Bordeaux region, the grape is the key ingredient next to merlot for most iconic producers. But in California’s Napa Valley, cabernet sauvignon is the unquestionable king of the hill, practically synonymous with red wine for most American wine drinkers.

It wasn’t always that way, however. In 1933, just after Prohibition ended, there were fewer than 100 acres planted with the grape in California. By 1991, according to “The Oxford Companion to Wine” (fourth edition), some 32,000 acres of cabernet vines were encroaching on zinfandel, which was also widely planted. As of today, the total plantings of cabernet are nearing 100,000 acres in California, of which more than 21,000 are in Napa alone.

Stylistically, cabernet sauvignon wines vary from producer to producer, but in Napa, its unmistakable imprint is power and intensity, often bursting out of the glass with lavish black fruit, cassis, graphite, earth and flashy cedar and oak spices. Its thicker grape skins imbue cabernet-rich wines with firm, sturdy mouth-drying tannins that can be plush and silky or chewy and robust.

The greatest challenge for Napa producers is not to let the grapes become overripe. Two of the Valley’s most respected cabernet makers are Chris Phelps (Ad Vivum Cellars) and Frenchman Philippe Bascaules (Chateau Margaux). Both men work in tandem at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook in Rutherford, and although both employ French techniques—Phelps learned to make wine at Petrus—they share a necessary California-focused philosophy of never picking too late because overripe grapes lack complexity.

The intense sun and heat in Napa make it easy to overripen grapes if vineyards aren’t properly managed. When grapes are so ripe they’re practically falling off the vine, “You don't have any exchange between the berry and the stem, then you start to have some oxidation, which means you lose the freshness, flavors and the taste of the place and the variety,” says Bascaules. “Overripeness is the great equalizer,” says Phelps. “I think the great tragedy would be that all wines taste the same someday.”

Ehlers Estate winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz reminds us that although Napa is a small valley compared with other wine regions, “it offers a great variability in climate, soils, elevations and sun exposures that make every single appellation very defined in regards to style,” she says.

Making Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my winemaking career,” says Amici Cellars winemaker Jesse Fox. “There are lots of wineries making Beckstoffer To Kalon and Oakville Ranch cabs that sell north of $200, and it’s a real privilege to be a part of that group, but the reach we have producing an under-$50 Napa Valley cab is extensive. It’s the kind of bottle I feel good recommending to my friends and family.”

And on that note, these are 10 noteworthy Napa cabernets from some of today’s best producers. Starting at $50, on up to the “splurge” category, these are classic examples that are lovely now but will reward with deep complexities if you have the patience to cellar them for a while.


10 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons to Try Right Now

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Cabernet sauvignon is the undisputed heavyweight and reigning red grape champion of the world, responsible for producing rich, bold and powerful wines with immense aging potential. In France’s Bordeaux region, the grape is the key ingredient next to merlot for most iconic producers. But in California’s Napa Valley, cabernet sauvignon is the unquestionable king of the hill, practically synonymous with red wine for most American wine drinkers.

It wasn’t always that way, however. In 1933, just after Prohibition ended, there were fewer than 100 acres planted with the grape in California. By 1991, according to “The Oxford Companion to Wine” (fourth edition), some 32,000 acres of cabernet vines were encroaching on zinfandel, which was also widely planted. As of today, the total plantings of cabernet are nearing 100,000 acres in California, of which more than 21,000 are in Napa alone.

Stylistically, cabernet sauvignon wines vary from producer to producer, but in Napa, its unmistakable imprint is power and intensity, often bursting out of the glass with lavish black fruit, cassis, graphite, earth and flashy cedar and oak spices. Its thicker grape skins imbue cabernet-rich wines with firm, sturdy mouth-drying tannins that can be plush and silky or chewy and robust.

The greatest challenge for Napa producers is not to let the grapes become overripe. Two of the Valley’s most respected cabernet makers are Chris Phelps (Ad Vivum Cellars) and Frenchman Philippe Bascaules (Chateau Margaux). Both men work in tandem at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook in Rutherford, and although both employ French techniques—Phelps learned to make wine at Petrus—they share a necessary California-focused philosophy of never picking too late because overripe grapes lack complexity.

The intense sun and heat in Napa make it easy to overripen grapes if vineyards aren’t properly managed. When grapes are so ripe they’re practically falling off the vine, “You don't have any exchange between the berry and the stem, then you start to have some oxidation, which means you lose the freshness, flavors and the taste of the place and the variety,” says Bascaules. “Overripeness is the great equalizer,” says Phelps. “I think the great tragedy would be that all wines taste the same someday.”

Ehlers Estate winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz reminds us that although Napa is a small valley compared with other wine regions, “it offers a great variability in climate, soils, elevations and sun exposures that make every single appellation very defined in regards to style,” she says.

Making Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my winemaking career,” says Amici Cellars winemaker Jesse Fox. “There are lots of wineries making Beckstoffer To Kalon and Oakville Ranch cabs that sell north of $200, and it’s a real privilege to be a part of that group, but the reach we have producing an under-$50 Napa Valley cab is extensive. It’s the kind of bottle I feel good recommending to my friends and family.”

And on that note, these are 10 noteworthy Napa cabernets from some of today’s best producers. Starting at $50, on up to the “splurge” category, these are classic examples that are lovely now but will reward with deep complexities if you have the patience to cellar them for a while.


10 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons to Try Right Now

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Cabernet sauvignon is the undisputed heavyweight and reigning red grape champion of the world, responsible for producing rich, bold and powerful wines with immense aging potential. In France’s Bordeaux region, the grape is the key ingredient next to merlot for most iconic producers. But in California’s Napa Valley, cabernet sauvignon is the unquestionable king of the hill, practically synonymous with red wine for most American wine drinkers.

It wasn’t always that way, however. In 1933, just after Prohibition ended, there were fewer than 100 acres planted with the grape in California. By 1991, according to “The Oxford Companion to Wine” (fourth edition), some 32,000 acres of cabernet vines were encroaching on zinfandel, which was also widely planted. As of today, the total plantings of cabernet are nearing 100,000 acres in California, of which more than 21,000 are in Napa alone.

Stylistically, cabernet sauvignon wines vary from producer to producer, but in Napa, its unmistakable imprint is power and intensity, often bursting out of the glass with lavish black fruit, cassis, graphite, earth and flashy cedar and oak spices. Its thicker grape skins imbue cabernet-rich wines with firm, sturdy mouth-drying tannins that can be plush and silky or chewy and robust.

The greatest challenge for Napa producers is not to let the grapes become overripe. Two of the Valley’s most respected cabernet makers are Chris Phelps (Ad Vivum Cellars) and Frenchman Philippe Bascaules (Chateau Margaux). Both men work in tandem at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook in Rutherford, and although both employ French techniques—Phelps learned to make wine at Petrus—they share a necessary California-focused philosophy of never picking too late because overripe grapes lack complexity.

The intense sun and heat in Napa make it easy to overripen grapes if vineyards aren’t properly managed. When grapes are so ripe they’re practically falling off the vine, “You don't have any exchange between the berry and the stem, then you start to have some oxidation, which means you lose the freshness, flavors and the taste of the place and the variety,” says Bascaules. “Overripeness is the great equalizer,” says Phelps. “I think the great tragedy would be that all wines taste the same someday.”

Ehlers Estate winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz reminds us that although Napa is a small valley compared with other wine regions, “it offers a great variability in climate, soils, elevations and sun exposures that make every single appellation very defined in regards to style,” she says.

Making Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my winemaking career,” says Amici Cellars winemaker Jesse Fox. “There are lots of wineries making Beckstoffer To Kalon and Oakville Ranch cabs that sell north of $200, and it’s a real privilege to be a part of that group, but the reach we have producing an under-$50 Napa Valley cab is extensive. It’s the kind of bottle I feel good recommending to my friends and family.”

And on that note, these are 10 noteworthy Napa cabernets from some of today’s best producers. Starting at $50, on up to the “splurge” category, these are classic examples that are lovely now but will reward with deep complexities if you have the patience to cellar them for a while.


10 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons to Try Right Now

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Cabernet sauvignon is the undisputed heavyweight and reigning red grape champion of the world, responsible for producing rich, bold and powerful wines with immense aging potential. In France’s Bordeaux region, the grape is the key ingredient next to merlot for most iconic producers. But in California’s Napa Valley, cabernet sauvignon is the unquestionable king of the hill, practically synonymous with red wine for most American wine drinkers.

It wasn’t always that way, however. In 1933, just after Prohibition ended, there were fewer than 100 acres planted with the grape in California. By 1991, according to “The Oxford Companion to Wine” (fourth edition), some 32,000 acres of cabernet vines were encroaching on zinfandel, which was also widely planted. As of today, the total plantings of cabernet are nearing 100,000 acres in California, of which more than 21,000 are in Napa alone.

Stylistically, cabernet sauvignon wines vary from producer to producer, but in Napa, its unmistakable imprint is power and intensity, often bursting out of the glass with lavish black fruit, cassis, graphite, earth and flashy cedar and oak spices. Its thicker grape skins imbue cabernet-rich wines with firm, sturdy mouth-drying tannins that can be plush and silky or chewy and robust.

The greatest challenge for Napa producers is not to let the grapes become overripe. Two of the Valley’s most respected cabernet makers are Chris Phelps (Ad Vivum Cellars) and Frenchman Philippe Bascaules (Chateau Margaux). Both men work in tandem at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook in Rutherford, and although both employ French techniques—Phelps learned to make wine at Petrus—they share a necessary California-focused philosophy of never picking too late because overripe grapes lack complexity.

The intense sun and heat in Napa make it easy to overripen grapes if vineyards aren’t properly managed. When grapes are so ripe they’re practically falling off the vine, “You don't have any exchange between the berry and the stem, then you start to have some oxidation, which means you lose the freshness, flavors and the taste of the place and the variety,” says Bascaules. “Overripeness is the great equalizer,” says Phelps. “I think the great tragedy would be that all wines taste the same someday.”

Ehlers Estate winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz reminds us that although Napa is a small valley compared with other wine regions, “it offers a great variability in climate, soils, elevations and sun exposures that make every single appellation very defined in regards to style,” she says.

Making Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my winemaking career,” says Amici Cellars winemaker Jesse Fox. “There are lots of wineries making Beckstoffer To Kalon and Oakville Ranch cabs that sell north of $200, and it’s a real privilege to be a part of that group, but the reach we have producing an under-$50 Napa Valley cab is extensive. It’s the kind of bottle I feel good recommending to my friends and family.”

And on that note, these are 10 noteworthy Napa cabernets from some of today’s best producers. Starting at $50, on up to the “splurge” category, these are classic examples that are lovely now but will reward with deep complexities if you have the patience to cellar them for a while.


10 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons to Try Right Now

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Cabernet sauvignon is the undisputed heavyweight and reigning red grape champion of the world, responsible for producing rich, bold and powerful wines with immense aging potential. In France’s Bordeaux region, the grape is the key ingredient next to merlot for most iconic producers. But in California’s Napa Valley, cabernet sauvignon is the unquestionable king of the hill, practically synonymous with red wine for most American wine drinkers.

It wasn’t always that way, however. In 1933, just after Prohibition ended, there were fewer than 100 acres planted with the grape in California. By 1991, according to “The Oxford Companion to Wine” (fourth edition), some 32,000 acres of cabernet vines were encroaching on zinfandel, which was also widely planted. As of today, the total plantings of cabernet are nearing 100,000 acres in California, of which more than 21,000 are in Napa alone.

Stylistically, cabernet sauvignon wines vary from producer to producer, but in Napa, its unmistakable imprint is power and intensity, often bursting out of the glass with lavish black fruit, cassis, graphite, earth and flashy cedar and oak spices. Its thicker grape skins imbue cabernet-rich wines with firm, sturdy mouth-drying tannins that can be plush and silky or chewy and robust.

The greatest challenge for Napa producers is not to let the grapes become overripe. Two of the Valley’s most respected cabernet makers are Chris Phelps (Ad Vivum Cellars) and Frenchman Philippe Bascaules (Chateau Margaux). Both men work in tandem at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook in Rutherford, and although both employ French techniques—Phelps learned to make wine at Petrus—they share a necessary California-focused philosophy of never picking too late because overripe grapes lack complexity.

The intense sun and heat in Napa make it easy to overripen grapes if vineyards aren’t properly managed. When grapes are so ripe they’re practically falling off the vine, “You don't have any exchange between the berry and the stem, then you start to have some oxidation, which means you lose the freshness, flavors and the taste of the place and the variety,” says Bascaules. “Overripeness is the great equalizer,” says Phelps. “I think the great tragedy would be that all wines taste the same someday.”

Ehlers Estate winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz reminds us that although Napa is a small valley compared with other wine regions, “it offers a great variability in climate, soils, elevations and sun exposures that make every single appellation very defined in regards to style,” she says.

Making Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my winemaking career,” says Amici Cellars winemaker Jesse Fox. “There are lots of wineries making Beckstoffer To Kalon and Oakville Ranch cabs that sell north of $200, and it’s a real privilege to be a part of that group, but the reach we have producing an under-$50 Napa Valley cab is extensive. It’s the kind of bottle I feel good recommending to my friends and family.”

And on that note, these are 10 noteworthy Napa cabernets from some of today’s best producers. Starting at $50, on up to the “splurge” category, these are classic examples that are lovely now but will reward with deep complexities if you have the patience to cellar them for a while.


10 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons to Try Right Now

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Cabernet sauvignon is the undisputed heavyweight and reigning red grape champion of the world, responsible for producing rich, bold and powerful wines with immense aging potential. In France’s Bordeaux region, the grape is the key ingredient next to merlot for most iconic producers. But in California’s Napa Valley, cabernet sauvignon is the unquestionable king of the hill, practically synonymous with red wine for most American wine drinkers.

It wasn’t always that way, however. In 1933, just after Prohibition ended, there were fewer than 100 acres planted with the grape in California. By 1991, according to “The Oxford Companion to Wine” (fourth edition), some 32,000 acres of cabernet vines were encroaching on zinfandel, which was also widely planted. As of today, the total plantings of cabernet are nearing 100,000 acres in California, of which more than 21,000 are in Napa alone.

Stylistically, cabernet sauvignon wines vary from producer to producer, but in Napa, its unmistakable imprint is power and intensity, often bursting out of the glass with lavish black fruit, cassis, graphite, earth and flashy cedar and oak spices. Its thicker grape skins imbue cabernet-rich wines with firm, sturdy mouth-drying tannins that can be plush and silky or chewy and robust.

The greatest challenge for Napa producers is not to let the grapes become overripe. Two of the Valley’s most respected cabernet makers are Chris Phelps (Ad Vivum Cellars) and Frenchman Philippe Bascaules (Chateau Margaux). Both men work in tandem at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook in Rutherford, and although both employ French techniques—Phelps learned to make wine at Petrus—they share a necessary California-focused philosophy of never picking too late because overripe grapes lack complexity.

The intense sun and heat in Napa make it easy to overripen grapes if vineyards aren’t properly managed. When grapes are so ripe they’re practically falling off the vine, “You don't have any exchange between the berry and the stem, then you start to have some oxidation, which means you lose the freshness, flavors and the taste of the place and the variety,” says Bascaules. “Overripeness is the great equalizer,” says Phelps. “I think the great tragedy would be that all wines taste the same someday.”

Ehlers Estate winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz reminds us that although Napa is a small valley compared with other wine regions, “it offers a great variability in climate, soils, elevations and sun exposures that make every single appellation very defined in regards to style,” she says.

Making Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my winemaking career,” says Amici Cellars winemaker Jesse Fox. “There are lots of wineries making Beckstoffer To Kalon and Oakville Ranch cabs that sell north of $200, and it’s a real privilege to be a part of that group, but the reach we have producing an under-$50 Napa Valley cab is extensive. It’s the kind of bottle I feel good recommending to my friends and family.”

And on that note, these are 10 noteworthy Napa cabernets from some of today’s best producers. Starting at $50, on up to the “splurge” category, these are classic examples that are lovely now but will reward with deep complexities if you have the patience to cellar them for a while.


10 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons to Try Right Now

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Cabernet sauvignon is the undisputed heavyweight and reigning red grape champion of the world, responsible for producing rich, bold and powerful wines with immense aging potential. In France’s Bordeaux region, the grape is the key ingredient next to merlot for most iconic producers. But in California’s Napa Valley, cabernet sauvignon is the unquestionable king of the hill, practically synonymous with red wine for most American wine drinkers.

It wasn’t always that way, however. In 1933, just after Prohibition ended, there were fewer than 100 acres planted with the grape in California. By 1991, according to “The Oxford Companion to Wine” (fourth edition), some 32,000 acres of cabernet vines were encroaching on zinfandel, which was also widely planted. As of today, the total plantings of cabernet are nearing 100,000 acres in California, of which more than 21,000 are in Napa alone.

Stylistically, cabernet sauvignon wines vary from producer to producer, but in Napa, its unmistakable imprint is power and intensity, often bursting out of the glass with lavish black fruit, cassis, graphite, earth and flashy cedar and oak spices. Its thicker grape skins imbue cabernet-rich wines with firm, sturdy mouth-drying tannins that can be plush and silky or chewy and robust.

The greatest challenge for Napa producers is not to let the grapes become overripe. Two of the Valley’s most respected cabernet makers are Chris Phelps (Ad Vivum Cellars) and Frenchman Philippe Bascaules (Chateau Margaux). Both men work in tandem at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook in Rutherford, and although both employ French techniques—Phelps learned to make wine at Petrus—they share a necessary California-focused philosophy of never picking too late because overripe grapes lack complexity.

The intense sun and heat in Napa make it easy to overripen grapes if vineyards aren’t properly managed. When grapes are so ripe they’re practically falling off the vine, “You don't have any exchange between the berry and the stem, then you start to have some oxidation, which means you lose the freshness, flavors and the taste of the place and the variety,” says Bascaules. “Overripeness is the great equalizer,” says Phelps. “I think the great tragedy would be that all wines taste the same someday.”

Ehlers Estate winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz reminds us that although Napa is a small valley compared with other wine regions, “it offers a great variability in climate, soils, elevations and sun exposures that make every single appellation very defined in regards to style,” she says.

Making Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my winemaking career,” says Amici Cellars winemaker Jesse Fox. “There are lots of wineries making Beckstoffer To Kalon and Oakville Ranch cabs that sell north of $200, and it’s a real privilege to be a part of that group, but the reach we have producing an under-$50 Napa Valley cab is extensive. It’s the kind of bottle I feel good recommending to my friends and family.”

And on that note, these are 10 noteworthy Napa cabernets from some of today’s best producers. Starting at $50, on up to the “splurge” category, these are classic examples that are lovely now but will reward with deep complexities if you have the patience to cellar them for a while.


10 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons to Try Right Now

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Cabernet sauvignon is the undisputed heavyweight and reigning red grape champion of the world, responsible for producing rich, bold and powerful wines with immense aging potential. In France’s Bordeaux region, the grape is the key ingredient next to merlot for most iconic producers. But in California’s Napa Valley, cabernet sauvignon is the unquestionable king of the hill, practically synonymous with red wine for most American wine drinkers.

It wasn’t always that way, however. In 1933, just after Prohibition ended, there were fewer than 100 acres planted with the grape in California. By 1991, according to “The Oxford Companion to Wine” (fourth edition), some 32,000 acres of cabernet vines were encroaching on zinfandel, which was also widely planted. As of today, the total plantings of cabernet are nearing 100,000 acres in California, of which more than 21,000 are in Napa alone.

Stylistically, cabernet sauvignon wines vary from producer to producer, but in Napa, its unmistakable imprint is power and intensity, often bursting out of the glass with lavish black fruit, cassis, graphite, earth and flashy cedar and oak spices. Its thicker grape skins imbue cabernet-rich wines with firm, sturdy mouth-drying tannins that can be plush and silky or chewy and robust.

The greatest challenge for Napa producers is not to let the grapes become overripe. Two of the Valley’s most respected cabernet makers are Chris Phelps (Ad Vivum Cellars) and Frenchman Philippe Bascaules (Chateau Margaux). Both men work in tandem at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook in Rutherford, and although both employ French techniques—Phelps learned to make wine at Petrus—they share a necessary California-focused philosophy of never picking too late because overripe grapes lack complexity.

The intense sun and heat in Napa make it easy to overripen grapes if vineyards aren’t properly managed. When grapes are so ripe they’re practically falling off the vine, “You don't have any exchange between the berry and the stem, then you start to have some oxidation, which means you lose the freshness, flavors and the taste of the place and the variety,” says Bascaules. “Overripeness is the great equalizer,” says Phelps. “I think the great tragedy would be that all wines taste the same someday.”

Ehlers Estate winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz reminds us that although Napa is a small valley compared with other wine regions, “it offers a great variability in climate, soils, elevations and sun exposures that make every single appellation very defined in regards to style,” she says.

Making Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my winemaking career,” says Amici Cellars winemaker Jesse Fox. “There are lots of wineries making Beckstoffer To Kalon and Oakville Ranch cabs that sell north of $200, and it’s a real privilege to be a part of that group, but the reach we have producing an under-$50 Napa Valley cab is extensive. It’s the kind of bottle I feel good recommending to my friends and family.”

And on that note, these are 10 noteworthy Napa cabernets from some of today’s best producers. Starting at $50, on up to the “splurge” category, these are classic examples that are lovely now but will reward with deep complexities if you have the patience to cellar them for a while.


Watch the video: Portfolio Part D (December 2021).