Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 65

YEAR'S BEST US CABERNETS & BLENDS
memory, lasting after each sip. -J.G. (W&S
10/20; 650 cases) §
521283

92 | Corison

521539

90 | Nickel & Nickel

$125

2018 Rutherford Napa Valley C.C. Ranch
Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Bright cherry-jam flavors introduce this clean and spicy cabernet,
then tannins turn it dark and steaky. It's a
comfort-food red for home-cooked meals-
one taster suggested a classic American meatloaf with ketchup baked into the top. - J.G. §
521542

90 | Yao Ming

$120

89 | Beaulieu

$45

2017 Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet
Sauvignon ^ This wine's peppery, blueberryscented fruit has a sweet perfume, like dried
roses. It's silky, lean and light, lasting on
notes of sweet dried figs. Pour it with braised
boar. - J.G. §
521694
2017 Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet
Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ Appealingly light
and easy-going for a Napa Valley cabernet,
this wine's earthbound sweetness combines
scents of plum skin, star anise and clove.
Quiet and soft. - J.G. §

$100

2017 St. Helena Napa Valley Cabernet
Sauvignon ^ A tense wine that needs time to
unwind, this is based on western benchland
fruit farmed and harvested for lithe elegance
rather than effusive power. At first, it gives
little aside from rose scents and some sappy
rosewood notes. The fruit comes later as the
tannins relent, offering black-raspberry and
black-currant flavors that are clean and clear.
Cathy Corison takes a long view on her cabernet, building finely structured wines to cellar.
-J.G. (W&S 10/20; 2,200 cases) §
521592

91 | Gibbs

$65

2016 St. Helena Napa Valley Estate Reserve
Centa Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Best
Buy) ^ The Centa Vineyard lies at the intersection of Lodi Lane and the Silverado Trail, a
site first planted to vines in the 1860s. Lewis
Gibbs Carpenter, Jr., bought the property in
the 1950s and farmed it for decades. When
he died in 2013, his son-in-law, Craig Handly, launched the Gibbs label in his memory.
Handly's 2016 starts out with a bright strawberry scent and ends on the umami savor of
black mushrooms. It's lean and intriguing,
the wine's touches of heat seeming to dissipate as the flavors develop over the course of
several days. - J.G. §

S T. H E L E N A
521284

94 | Corison

$195

2017 St. Helena Napa Valley Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Kronos is a rarity
in Napa Valley: benchland cabernet planted
in 1971 on St. George rootstock. Those roots
resisted the onslaught of the phylloxera louse
that took out most of the valley's cabernet
vines in the 1990s; under the care of Cathy
Corison's sensitive farming, those are some
of the oldest cabernet vines in Napa Valley,
still thriving today. In 2017, Kronos is perfumed and, as is often the case, a little disjointed on the initial taste. Or perhaps it's
just not as straightforward, bypassing the
ease of many contemporary cabernets for
an earthier elegance, drawn from those deeprooted old vines. The wine comes into its own
four days after the bottle is first opened,
unwrapping its red-apple freshness, moving
into dark currant and earthy detail that continues to carry from your breath into your

521593

90 | J. Lohr

S P R I N G M O U N TA I N

$60

2016 St. Helena Napa Valley Carol's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ A
plump cabernet with a syrupy touch to the
texture, this wine has edges of flamed orange
zest and smoke to cut the richness. Steve Peck
makes this from J. Lohr's estate vineyard in
St. Helena, aging the wine for 20 months in
French oak barrels, 60 percent new. - J.G. §

521597

95 | Keenan

$114

94 | Keenan

$114

92 | Keenan

$110

2017 Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Michael
Keenan's collection of vineyard parcels at
high elevations on Spring Mountain created
a totally delicious 2017 Reserve. Its pure
mountain-blueberry essence is hard to find
outside of a sunny August day spent eating
blueberries straight off the bush. There's also
a brighter glimmer of red fruit, seeming to
reflect off the mineral tannins as the flavors
leap out of the glass. A chef friend remarked
on the complexity of this wine and how it
would be easy to drink a lot of it: "The tannins are kind of perfect, begging for teriyaki
beef." Those fruit tannins have a delicacy and
freshness that's rare in any vintage, and may
be a marker for the best of the 2017s. - J.G. §
520502
2016 Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Michael
Keenan replanted his Big K vineyard in 1998,
and, as the vines have matured, they have
consistently put out one of the top cabernet
sauvignons in Napa Valley-with a string of
high scores and effusive notes on our website.
The latest, the 2016, marks the 40th anniversary of Robert Keenan Winery with a vibrant,
brisk mountain-grown cabernet, its tart wildcherry flavors foresty to the core. If a wine
could be said to have earthy intelligence, this
one does, its tannins lending stamina and
deep-rooted gravitas to a cabernet that feels
effortless, like it's sleepwalking into beauty.
-J.G. (W&S 6/20; 900 cases) §
521598
2017 Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Mernet Reserve ^ Keenan's 50-50 blend
of merlot and cabernet sauvignon is a tough,
meaty red, its tannins needing something as
rich as the braised pork in cassoulet, or shredded duck, Cantonese style. Those tannins
gain elegance with air, continuing to integrate with the fruit over the course of several days. Young and strong, this will benefit
from several years of cellaring. - J.G. §

WINE & SPIRITS

DECEMBER 2020

65


https://www.nickelandnickel.com/shop https://wine.keenanwinery.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showlist&productcategoryid=8DEE7F64-01F1-4B5A-BF43-815987DA739A https://www.jlohr.com/wines/2016-carols-vineyard-cabernet-sauvignon

Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 4
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 5
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 6
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 7
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 8
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover4
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