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2018 Lewelling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

2018 Lewelling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

95 JD


Sokolin Notes:
A 95 Point Napa Cabernet That We Love!

From the critics:

93 RP

Featured Review
A killer wine as well as a smoking value, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon comes all from the estate vineyard outside of St. Helena and spent 20 months in 70% new French oak. Loads of crème de cassis, blueberries, toasted spices, and flowery incense make up the bouquet, and it hits the palate with a ripe, round, sweetly fruited, perfectly balanced style that’s already impossible to resist. Jeb Dunnuck

Jeb Dunnuck | 95 JD

Critic Reviews

A killer wine as well as a smoking value, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon comes all from the estate vineyard outside of St. Helena and spent 20 months in 70% new French oak. Loads of crème de cassis, blueberries, toasted spices, and flowery incense make up the bouquet, and it hits the palate with a ripe, round, sweetly fruited, perfectly balanced style that’s already impossible to resist.

Jeb Dunnuck | 95 JD
Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for 20 months in oak, 70% new. Deep garnet-purple in color, it offers up fragrant notions of minted cassis, blackberry compote and spice cake with suggestions of cardamom and chocolate box. The full-bodied palate is rich and plush, packed with spicy black fruits and finishing with great length. 950 cases were made.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RP

Wine Details for 2018 Lewelling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Type of Wine California Red : Whether it's Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel, Californian red wine producers have a lovely habit of taking a varietal and expressing its essence in a unique, never before seen way. From Napa Valley to the regions south of Los Angeles, there's a red for everyone - and it's never too late to start exploring.
Varietal Cabernet Sauvignon : It is recognized worldwide, referred to as “king of grapes” and has easily become the most popular grape variety in the world. Cabernet Sauvignon has seemingly taken the world by storm. It has seen exponential growth and popularity in American and around the world over the past thirty years. The phrase “Cabernet is king,” is a common maxim in the world of wine. Cabernet Sauvignon wine has become so popular that when being referred to can be recognized by simple slang, such as “Cab” or “Cabernet. It might appear simple, straightforward and easily understood; yet, interestingly remains an enigma, which has both baffled and excited oenologists since its discovery.

The exact origin and circumstances of this world-altering event are still enigmatic; however, at the end of the 20th century, UC Davis Scientists (John Bowers and Carole Meredith) were able to solve part of the mystery using DNA fingerprinting technology that proved Cabernet Sauvignon to be the offspring of a surprising spontaneous crossing of Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. By the 18th century there were already records of Cabernet Sauvignon being well-established on the west side of the Gironde Estuary (Left Bank) in the Medoc and Graves.

Although tremendously popular in California and what seems to have become the identity of Napa Valley winemaking, Cabernet Sauvignon’s birth took place in the Bordeaux region of southwest France by fortuitous unification. Whereas Napa Valley experienced a winemaking renaissance during the 1970’s and 1980s (greatly due to the 1976 Judgement of Paris) quality wine from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape has been produced in the Medoc, on the Left Bank of Bordeaux for over 400 years.

Cabernet Sauvignon’s first recorded plantings in California can be traced back to the 1850’s when Antoine Delmas, a French nurseryman, brought French vines (including one called ‘Cabrunet’) to the Santa Clara Valley. Early cultivation suffered due to obscurity of the varietal and improper planting in inhospitable soil. It wasn’t until pioneers such as Robert Mondavi, Randy Dunn and Warren Winiarski with their amazing foresight and understanding of terroir, would the grape variety finally find its niche in California winemaking.

Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in warm climates moderated by a cooling marine influence. It is perfectly attuned to gravel-based soils with good drainage. Whether on flat land or a hillside, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape flourishes in proper climates and terroir, producing incredible yields. The thick grapevine is extremely vigorous allowing it to exploit its natural host. Its distinctive small, black berries (reminiscent of blueberries) adhere firmly to the stalk and are capable of a very long “hang time.” These berries are extremely concentrated, producing intensely flavored fruit. The thick skins of the grape are characterized as having highly astringent flavor, high tannin, acidity and dark color. Coincidentally, the variety has a special affinity for oak, which helps soften the bitterness.

Today, the Noble Bordeaux varietal of Cabernet Sauvignon is planted on 340,000 hectares (741,300 acres) of vineyards across the earth’s surface. From Sicily to Sonoma, Chile to Bordeaux, South Africa to Napa. It has found symbiosis in terroir hotspots that mimic that of the Medoc and Napa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon’s globetrotting has allowed the grape variety to take root all over the world, captivating its inhabitants and influencing winemaking. This serendipitous marriage between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc centuries ago, which offered to the world its progeny, has changed the landscape of winegrowing, winemaking and the face of the entire wine market forever. It has influenced blending, changed civilization and has cultivated a place for itself in today’s world… the very pinnacle.

Country US : As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
Region California : With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented.

Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.
Subregion Napa Valley
Appellation St. Helena


Producer Lewelling Vineyards : Located near the western foothills in St. Helena, resides an estate with over 150 years of family history and viticultural knowledge: Lewelling Vineyards. Over the course of its long history, the estate and its founding family has made tremendous contributions to Napa Valley, including the formation of the St. Helena Viticultural Club (the precursor to today’s Appellation St. Helena) along with viticulture pioneers including Charles Krug and Henry Pellet. When John Lewelling died, the California Horticultural Society declared him to be “The Father of California Horticulture. The Lewellings have stayed true to their strong agricultural roots generation after generation, upholding the family legacy and the tradition of fine winemaking in Napa Valley.

Lewelling Vineyards is one of the oldest continuously-owned family vineyards in the Napa Valley, having been established in 1864 by John Lewelling. After an unsuccessful attempt to strike it rich during the California Gold Rush, John left the gold fields and decided to return to what his family knew best, horticulture. In 1855, he established his own nursery ‘J. Lewelling and Sons’ in San Lorenzo (San Francisco Bay Area). With his father and three brothers also in the business, John had an extensive background in the trade, and after a short time had built an incredibly successful business. At one point, he was known for having the largest Cherry orchard in the state of California. Lewelling Boulevard off of the 880 Freeway in San Lorenzo was named after him, and many of the local community names (Cherryland Park, Cherryland Elementary and Blossom Way) are all tied to the early agricultural pioneers who stamped a reputation of quality on the area.

Due to health reasons, John Lewelling sold his nursery business to his son and migrated to St. Helena seeking a drier environment to ease his asthma. In 1864, he acquired his first property in St. Helena and in the subsequent years planted several hundred acres of vineyards. He constructed a family home on the property which still stands to this day. When phylloxera infected his grape vines in the late 1860s, John, in his resilience and agricultural ingenuity, planted walnuts and almonds to supplement his earnings, allowing his family to continue to thrive despite the crippling effect of the devastating phylloxera attack. In 1874, it was John Lewelling who sold 4.5 acres to John Thomann, which was the site and winery of what eventually became the original Sutter Home, which has also left a mark on the history of California winemaking.

Today, the historic Lewelling estate is operated by the fifth and sixth generation, while the seventh generation runs playfully among the vines. The estate focuses solely on the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, and are currently offering the flagship Lewelling Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as their Wight Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. The twenty-eight acre vineyard, on a portion of the original estate, resides in a prime location at the base of the Mayacamas mountains in St. Helena. The vines thrive in the remarkable and renowned St. Helena terroir. Because of its proximity to the slopes, the vineyard has benefited from thousands of years of soil erosion coming down from the hillsides. For the Lewelling estate, these alluvial deposits and bench land type soils are ideal. This part of Napa is one of the sweet spots for growing high quality Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, St. Helena is nicknamed ‘Napa’s Main Street’.

Exceptional terroir and generations of wine knowledge allow the Lewellings to produce exceptional Cabernets with rich cherry, currant and berry flavors that are enhanced by traditional winemaking methods and aging in French Oak barrels. The wines have great natural acidity (greatly attributed to the terroir) modest ripeness and silky tannins with good concentration. Annual production is typically around 1,200 cases. The wine is distributed in very select markets nationally (mostly high end wine shops) as well as direct to consumer via a mailing list. Due to their small production and high demand for the wine there is currently a waiting list. Each bottle produced is a time-capsule of viticultural knowledge and aptitude of the Lewelling family legacy…150 years in the making.

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