Napa Valley is the source of some of the world’s best tasting and most sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon. With its diverse soil types and combination of valley floor and mountain vineyard sites, Napa turns out wine with a good balance of ripe fruit flavors and fresh acidity. Throw in a combination of American and French oak, depending on winemaker preference, and the sum is a wide variety of wines with luxurious tannins and notes of spice and vanilla. This famous appellation boasts almost 500 wineries that produce thousands of different wines, but the best will show fine-tuned equilibrium between fruit, spice, tannins and acidity.
As weather turns cooler and we dine on heartier foods, Napa Cab becomes a go-to pour. Crisp-skinned herb roasted chicken, red sauce pasta dishes with meatballs and sausage, French onion soup, braised short ribs, mushroom risotto and roast or grilled lamb will all hold up to the strength, vitality and elegance of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Here are 10 that are perfect to open right now. Or better yet, pick up multiple bottles, open one up now and revisit the others in a few years.
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Inglenook 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley
Grapes for this enticing Cabernet Sauvignon are grown on organically farmed vineyards. It opens with aromas of black plum, black raspberry and just a whiff of truffle. It is quite powerful in the mouth with a firm tannic backbone, great black fruit flavors and secondary flavors of Nutella and toasted almonds. Drink now or hold.
Newton 2016 Single Vineyard Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
The late Peter Newton rarely filtered his wines, and the current winemaker follows closely in his footsteps. This alluring wine presents itself with aromas of cranberry, pomegranate and dried Mediterranean herbs. In the mouth it explodes with red fruit and freshly ground pepper. The finish is persistent with a splash of bright fruit acidity at the very end.
Taub Family Vineyards 2016 Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges III Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley
Mark Taub and his son Jake source grapes from Beckstoffer Vineyard—one of Napa Valley’s premier plots—to make this enchanting wine. It introduces itself with aromas of red and black plum, black cherry and brown baking spices. In the mouth it has a strong tannic backbone with juicy fruit flavors and a pleasant oak frame. Drink now or hold for a decade or two.
Lamborn Vintage XVI 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Napa Valley
Winemaker Heidi Barrett makes this stunning wine using grapes grown on Howell Mountain. It has aromas of blackberry, cassis and blueberry with rich flavors of juicy dark plum and dark chocolate. It is full-bodied in the mouth with fine, silky tannins and just a touch of dulce de leche in the long, long finish. Drink now or hold for a couple of decades.
Salvestrin 2018 Three “D” Dr. Crane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena Napa Valley
The Salvestrin family uses grapes sourced from their Dr. Crane Vineyard in St. Helena to make this tasty wine. It has aromas of black raspberry, vanilla and a whiff of pencil lead. In the mouth it has silky tannins and flavors of dark fruits and violet with a hint of rose petal.
Schrader Cellars 2019 Double Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa Valley
Double Diamond took a three-year hiatus until 2018 and their 2019 is certainly worth the wait. Made with grapes from the Oakville AVA, this wine has aromas of strawberry, black plum and black tea. In the mouth there are juicy flavors of black currant, black raspberry preserves and powdered dark chocolate which are all well integrated with a silky tannic structure.
Faust 2019 The Pact Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville Napa Valley
Grapes for this engaging wine are grown in the Coombsville AVA, Napa Valley’s southernmost region for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, well known for its volcanic soils. It has aromas of black raspberry, blueberry and violet with flavors of black plum and black cassis. The tannins are firm yet supple with a persistent finish accented by flavors of anise and dried Mediterranean herbs.
Titus Family Estate 2019 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Grapes for this delicious wine are grown on a family-owned 40-acre vineyard just north of St. Helena. It is garnet colored in the glass with aromas of black cherry and blueberry. In the mouth it has flavors of dark fruits, dark chocolate and mocha with a firm tannic structure. There’s also a touch of vanilla in the fruit filled finish. Drink now or throughout the next 15 years or so.
Mira 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa Valley
This wine is aged in 100 percent new French oak for 22 months. It has aromas of toasted hazelnuts, slate, purple flowers and black fruits. In the mouth there are ripe, rich fruit flavors and a firm tannic structure. There’s a bit of grit and texture in the finish, sometimes known as Rutherford Dust which is presumably due to the vineyard’s proximity to the Rutherford AVA.
Far Niente 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Grapes for this captivating wine are grown in Yountville, Diamond Mountain, Stags Leap, St. Helena, Oak Knoll and Calistoga. It has a delightful bouquet of red raspberry, black cassis, dried Christmas spice and Oolong tea. In the mouth there are fine-grained tannins with flavors of fruit compote and toasted hazelnuts before the long, fruit-filled finish.
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