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Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
This dark and handsome Californian Cabernet Sauvignon is a meditation on the state’s unique winegrowing regions which come together in perfect harmony in this bottle. Grapes from the Napa Valley add richness and complexity, Sonoma adds a hint of sweet baking spice, and Lake County fruit brings a subtle minerality. From the warmer Paso Robles grapes we get soft, well-rounded tannins and depth of flavour, while Lodi completes the blend with a silky smooth mouthfeel and rich jammy fruit.
After the grapes are harvested, the wine is fermented separately and aged in oak barrels for 18 months. As they develop, the barrels are tasted regularly to check on their progress and to decide the composition of the final blend.
The result is a well-balanced wine which offers a snapshot of California’s top regions for Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose offers blackberry, cola and sweet vanilla notes, while the palate showcases dark crushed berries and baking spice. Well-rounded and silky smooth in the mouth, this is an ideal red to savour on its own or to enjoy alongside rich tomato-based pasta dishes and red meat.
Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
To give this powerful Central Coast Cab balance and complexity, the grapes are selected from four distinguished AVAs which have a particular affinity with Cabernet Sauvignon: Pasos Robles, Arroyo Seco, San Antonio Valley and Hames Valley. Each area adds a unique facet to the wine’s complex personality; Paso Robles is known for its big and bold Cabs, while Arroyo Seco grapes add a firm structure and fruit from San Antonio Valley and Hames Valley contribute rich dark berry, dried fruit and spicy flavours. To ensure these different elements are well-integrated, the wine is barrel-fermented and then aged in French oak barrels for 10 months.
The result is a hearty, full-bodied wine bursting with intense aromas and flavours. The nose displays intricate layers of freshly-ground coffee, toast, dark chocolate and blackcurrant jam which evolve into sweet dark berries, vanilla and licorice on the palate. Firm tannins and robust fruit flavours make this an excellent match for braised ribs or earthy game dishes.
Smith & Hook takes its name from two former cattle ranches in the Santa Lucia Highlands which were purchased by Nicky and Gaby Hahn in 1980 after they noticed the untapped winemaking potential of the local area. Recently recognised as an “American Wine Pioneer” by Wine Enthusiast magazine, Nicky successfully lead the campaign to have Santa Lucia recognised as an AVA in 1991. With nearly forty years of winemaking experience in the Central Coast area, the family-run business is now in the capable hands of the Hahns’ son, Philip.
Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
This powerful Cabernet opens with enticing notes of cassis, crushed blackberries and dark plums while on the palate there are hints of cracked black peppercorns, green bell pepper, and sweet spices. The first sip reveals a generous full body, smooth tannins, and a well-developed structure which will help the wine to age gracefully over the next five or so years.
The fruit for this wine is sourced from the 20 year old Campbell vineyard which is planted on the old sand dunes that characterise the land around the town of Knightsen. The white sand reflects sunlight during the summer days, helping the grapes to ripen perfectly, and cooling breezes from the nearby river help to preserve freshness and balance. Before bottling the young wine is aged in oak barrels for 15 months to add extra complexity and depth.
The Jacuzzi Family Vineyards was established in 2005 by Fred and Nancy Cline in homage to Fred’s grandfather, Valeriano Jacuzzi, who with his brothers created the spa baths that bear his name. The property was built in the Tuscan style and modelled on the Jacuzzi family’s ancestral home in Italy. Today Fred and Nancy continue to honour their Italian heritage by making American wines with a Tuscan soul.
Round Pond Kith & Kin Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Round Pound winery was founded in the early 1980s after Bob and Jan MacDonnell purchased their first plot in Napa’s prized Rutherford Valley. Today the property has grown to a 468-acre farm and winery run by Bob and Jan’s children, Miles MacDonnell and Ryan MacDonnell. The estate is blessed with exceptional alluvial soils thanks to the nearby Conn Creek and Napa River which left deposits here thousands of years ago.
This powerful Cabernet is named after the Old English for “friends and family”, a reference to the fact that the fruit is sourced from across the Napa Valley yet retains a hearty Rutherford soul. The bottling is inspired by the very first wine made by the MacDonnells on the estate in 1992 which was initially just made to be shared with friends and family.
The nose explodes with ripe cassis, blackberries and dark cherries while the first sip reveals a full body, firm tannins, and well-defined structure which will respond very well to further cellaring over the next eight years or so. Bold and full-flavoured with plenty of juicy dark fruit, this is a great wine to enjoy alongside a prime steak and fries or generous platter of succulent barbecued ribs.
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Spotting the untapped potential of the Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi established his now-legendary winery in 1966 with the ambition of producing some of the world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignons. Today his name is synonymous with breathtaking premium red blend which catapulted Napa Valley into the limelight as a serious rival to Europe’s great winemaking regions.
Shaped by Mondavi’s perfectionist legacy, this classic Napa Valley Cab is crafted using grapes selected from their famous To Kalin vineyard in Oakville and Wappo Hill Vineyard in Stag’s Leap. After an extended maceration the must is vinified and then matured for 17 months in French oak barrels. During this ageing period the team repeatedly samples the developing wines and decides on the composition of the final blend. Usually this will include small amounts of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc to add further complexity and a smooth texture to the finished wine.
The result of all this attention to detail is a voluptuous Napa Cab which offers outstanding value. The nose explodes with succulent black cherries, plums and leather aromas which evolve into seductive spices, wild berries and lavender on the palate. An excellent introduction to the king of Napa, Cabernet Sauvignon, from the man who put the Valley on the wine map!
Duckhorn Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
This deep crimson Cabernet exudes opulent aromas of blackcurrants, cherry jam and dark chocolate which mingle with warming cinnamon and nutmeg. The palate is dominated by luscious dark fruit and gentle hints of baking spices, star anise and coffee. To create a wine that is both approachable and surprisingly complex, Duckhorn ages the wine for 10 months in French oak barrels to give firm tannins and a velvety smooth finish.
The winery also adds a splash of Merlot to the Cabernet Sauvignon to enhance the intense dark fruit character and to give a certain silky softness to this full-bodied wine. Blessed with a friendly, easy-going personality, this charming Cab is equally at home being sipped by the fireside or paired with a fine steak.
Founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in the late 1970s, Duckhorn Vineyards has become a point of reference for premium Napa Valley Merlot. Drawing on the wealth of knowledge and expertise accumulated by their team working in Napa, the couple also have a base in Sonoma County where they produce their Decoy wines. Here the focus is on crafting well-made Bordeaux varietals that are ready to be drunk upon release and offer incredible value for money.