Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 72

YEAR'S BEST US CABERNETS & BLENDS
an up-front sweetness scored by fine-grained
tannins and a prickle of acidity. Decant this
for steak. -P.J.C. (W&S 10/20; 200 cases) §
521827

90 | Grassini

521840

90 | J. Lohr

$60

89 | Robert Hall Winery

$20

88 | Intercept Wines

$20

88 | Oblivion

$18

$65

2016 Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Dark, plummy
and warm as stovetop compote, this is sunny
and juicy, with a dark cherry core of flavor. A
hint of tar and mocha frames the fruit, rich
and luxurious for pork stew. -P.J.C.

2016 Paso Robles Cuvée POM ^ A merlotdominant blend, this is cedary, with concentrated red-plum flavors marked by firm tannins. Everything is in place; this just needs
some cellar time to pull together. -P.J.C. §
521864
2017 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
(Best Buy) ^ Straightforward cabernet, this
tethers its bright red-berry notes to dark tar
and clove elements. It's balanced and fresh,
with a modicum of oak. -P.J.C. §
521837
2017 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
(Best Buy) ^ This is full bodied, the rich plumpudding aromas giving way to a jammy core
of flavor. It has just enough lift to carry the
fruit, buoyed by lean acidity. -P.J.C. §
521860
2018 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
(Best Buy) ^ This warm cabernet is structured
and dark, with firm tannins framing the concentrated flavors of plum, mocha and tar. For
steak. -P.J.C. §
521873

88 | St. Huberts

$20

2017 Paso Robles The Stag Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ Generous and straightforward, this cabernet has a red-cherry scent
and juicy fruit flavors, plus plenty of velvety
tannins. For smoked chicken. -P.J.C. §
521883

88 | Tree Fort

$17

2019 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
(Best Buy) ^ Despite its youth, this has a
brooding quality, with briary scents and
sweet sunbaked-plum flavors. For ribs.
-P.J.C. §

S A N TA B A R B A R A C O U N T Y
521360

90 | Deovlet

$60

2017 Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Star Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ^
Happy Canyon is a warm place, but Ryan
Deovlet manages to tease out cool cabernet
character from its warm slopes. This 2017 is
all red fruits, wild cherries and plums, with
72

WINE & SPIRITS

DECEMBER 2020

90 | Rancho de Ontiveros

$64

90 | Sunstone

$65

2016 Santa Ynez Valley Riata Oaks Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Bottle age has
given this 2016 an elegant sheen. With its
notes of five-spice powder and black tea, it's
an idiosyncratic cabernet, yet stylish, with a
firm and angular structure that needs slowsmoked beef to match. -P.J.C. §
521879
2017 Santa Ynez Valley Estate Cabernet
Sauvignon ^ Scents of dried plum and graham
cracker jump out in this well-structured red.
It opens with air, the oak and fruit elements
lifted by a fine latticework of acidity. It needs
cellar time to integrate. -P.J.C. §

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

521852

90 | Meadowlark

$35

2016 Santa Barbara County Cabernet
Sauvignon ^ This cabernet lingers on notes
of iron-rich earth, cedar and plum, all delivered in a soft texture. It's poised and elegant;
for fennel-rubbed pork tenderloin. -P.J.C. §

S A N TA Y N E Z V A L L E Y
521829

521799

92 | Habit

$32

92 | Rancho de Ontiveros

$64

2018 Santa Ynez Valley Rancho Arroyo
Perdido Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Jeff Fischer's 2018 cabernet sauvignon recalls cabernet franc in its savory scents of sage, bay laurel and thyme, even as it delivers generous
dark-berry flavors. Its structure is lean and
agile, with fine-grained tannins, tailor-made
for tri-tip. -P.J.C. §
521889
2018 Santa Ynez Valley Riata Oaks Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ^ In 2013, James
Ontiveros planted Riata Oaks, a vineyard
adjacent to Happy Canyon in the Santa Ynez
Valley. To him, it embodies the classic dictum
of a good site, a cool place in a warm region.
With his winemaker, Justin Willett, he seeks
to make a wine built not on full-bore fruit
but on savory flavors, by picking before the
fruit hits peak ripeness. He's done that in this
2018, an exotically spicy cabernet sauvignon
with scents of cardamom and wood-smoke
and flavors of dark plum framed by spicy
oak. It feels like it will age for years. -P.J.C. §
521887

90 | Byron Blatty

$45

2018 Los Angeles County Cabernet Sauvignon ^ From a small new winery devoted to
fruit grown only in LA County, this wine is
sourced mainly from the ocean-facing Montagneux Vineyard in the Malibu hills. It's
dusty and slightly herbal when first poured,
with scents of olive and evergreen adorning
a bright red-cherry core of flavor. The wine's
in the grip of oak at the moment, generous
but well-handled, needing a little cellar time
to knit. -P.J.C. §

CENTRAL COAST
521795

91 | Big Basin

$85

2017 Monterey County Altitude 2292 ^ This
takes several days to reveal itself, all peppercorn and leafy scents when first poured, so
savory that the fruit is hard to locate. With
air, the wine fills in with menthol flavors and
dark cherry fruit, the acidity and light oak
keeping the wine poised and breezy. -P.J.C. §
521846


https://www.jlohr.com/wines/2016-cuvee-pom https://www.meadowlarkvineyards.com/products/2016-cabernet-sauvignon/?portfolioCats=35 https://purchase.byronblatty.com/2018Cabernet

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
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 9
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 11
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 12
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover4
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