Today is July 4th, the date the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence, thus birthing a nation. On this national holiday millions of Americans will be participating in community parades, hanging out at the lake, beach, or pool, watching fireworks, and cooking out. Statistics show 80% of Americans will attend cookouts, spending upwards of 2 billion on these cookouts, consuming 150,000,000 hot dogs, 190 million pounds of red meat and pork, and 700 million chickens. Thankfully we have a wine that is as American as baseball to help wash down all that food, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
The first Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were planted in Napa Valley by George Calvert Yount in 1839. Charles Krug is credited with establishing Napa’s first commercial winery in 1861. Napa experienced ups and downs in the early years due to phylloxera, Prohibition, etc; however, in 1944 seven ambitious Napa Valley vintners realized unity was their way to global recognition. These seven Napa Valley icons signed a formal agreement establishing Napa Valley Vintner and in so doing drafted another declaration of independence; a statement to the Bordeaux loving world that the US also produces first class Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
Grab your hot dogs, burgers, and brats and get ready to celebrate two declarations of Independence with a great bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet.
2015 Addendum Atlas Peak Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley USA ($95): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Stagecoach Vineyard in Atlas Peak; inviting ruby with violet hues; opens with layers of aromas including black and red plums, blackberries, cherries, dried roses, cassis, sweet baking spice, sage, black pepper, trailing menthol, black olives, mocha, leather, fresh crushed tobacco; lush mouthfeel, sexy and smooth, layers of flavors range from spice to earth to savory; balanced high acidity with integrated tannins, full body, juicy fruit on palate and finish with a vein of minerality; beautiful that needs years to fully develop.
2015 Addendum Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley USA ($90): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 75% Rutherford AVA and 25% Stagecoach Vineyard; deep ruby with lively aromas of black fruit, sweet baking spice, dried roses and savory herbs, fresh tobacco leaves, chocolate, and vanilla; ripe and round, fruit forward on palate with nice dusty earth on finish, elegant, balanced medium+ acidity and youthful tannins, full body, long finish, approachable with a decant with great aging potential.
2015 Addendum Skellenger Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley USA ($95): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Rutherford AVA; dazzling ruby; with inviting aromas of stewed dark fruit, baking spice, dried violets and savory herbs, black pepper, cassis, leather, and cedar; rich and round on the palate, layers of flavors, nice minerality, balanced high acidity and dusty tannins, great structure, needs long aging to fully develop.
2015 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley USA ($61): Crafted of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc from grapes grown in Calistoga; medium ruby; abundance of red fruits mingle with baking spice, dried violets, dried savory herbs, menthol, minerality, black pepper and vanilla; medium body wine with high acidity and slightly grippy tannins, elegant with a nice lift on the palate, balanced with earth notes and nice thread of minerality with juicy black fruit that softens on the palate, offers nice restraint for a big wine; decant now or cellar for wine to fully develop. Visit Chateau Montelena to purchase.
2014 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Napa Valley USA ($100): A classic Howell Mountain Cabernet; opens with dark fruit, spice, dusty cocoa, worn leather, black pepper, and cedar on the nose; full-bodied, elegant yet bold on the palate, high tannins and acidity show integration and restraint; structured with good length and finish; sadly this wine sold out very quickly – however, a vertical of vintages 2013, 2014, and 2015 will be available at Cornerstone Cellars in the fall.
2015 Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley USA ($50) is crafted of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate wineries in Rutherford, Oakville, and St. Helena. This is a fruit-forward Cabernet, opening with notes of baked and stewed red and black fruit with baking spice, fresh tobacco leaves, and dark chocolate. It is full-body with a supple mouth-feel and long finish. Crafted for immediate consumption with a decant. Visit Flora Springs to purchase.
2015 Flora Springs Trilogy Red Wine Napa Valley USA ($80) is their flagship wine. Crafted of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, and 8% Petit Verdot, this wine is made of fruit sourced from Komes-Garvey estate vineyards, as well as from St. Helena, Rutherford, and Oakville. It is complex and broad on the palate. Notes of juicy dark fruit intermingle with cassis, mocha, cola, dried roses, worn leather cigar box, and trailing vanilla. The palate is elegant and complex with a crushed velvet mouth-feel. The body is full and the finish is long and lingering. Visit Flora Springs to purchase.
2014 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley USA ($52): Crafted of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 7% Merlot from dry-farmed grapes grown in Spring Mountain District estate vineyards; this beautiful ruby wine opens with aromas of fresh black fruit, dried violets, cassis, black pepper, forest floor, sweet tobacco and spice notes, licorice, minerality, and vanilla; incredibly balanced wine that meets the palate in a juxtaposition of finesse and power infused by the volcanic soil and guided the gentle hand of Stu Smith; tannins are high yet silky, acidity is balanced and mouth-watering, with a long and lean finish; another wonderful wine of great value by Smith-Madrone. Visit Smith-Madrone to purchase.
Have a happy and safe 4th of July!