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California Wines

California Wines

California Wines

California Wines

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 worth their salt 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, making it feel like a unique, standalone piece, rather than a derivative.

A New World region rises to join its viticultural forebears. Its meteoric rise to fame has been nothing short of stunning, and today California can compete with the world’s most prominent wine regions.

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2006 sloan proprietary red California Red

The 2006 is performing even better from bottle than it did from barrel. Sloan and McClellan decided to bottle it later than usual, recognizing the rugged, tough tannins of the vintage could be sweetened up with longer barrel aging. Their strategy worked. The wine’s dense ruby/purple color is followed by notes of white chocolate, burning embers, creme de cassis, coffee, and scorched earth (think Haut-Brion or La Mission Haut-Brion). It possesses terrific structure, melted, well-integrated tannins, full body, and is already bursting with complexity. A great success, it is one of the vintage’s most thrilling wines. Drink it over the next 20-25 years.Robert Parker | 98+ RPAn extraordinary effort, very tightly wound with a wealth of detailed flavors, exhibiting tiers of black cherry, plum, currant, berry jam, cedar, cigar box, black licorice and tobacco leaf. Full-bodied and well-structured, ending with tapered flavors that retain their focus. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best from 2011 through 2025. 700 cases made.Wine Spectator | 97 WSLovely violets, gardenias, and orchids on the nose with hints of dark fruits. Full bodied with fine tannins and firmly structured. This starts off slow, but then it really takes off and gives and gives. Very delicate and pretty. Pull the cork after 2016. Find the wineJames Suckling | 93 JS(70% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot and 5% cabernet franc) Full ruby-red. Superripe aromas of dark berries, hot stones, tobacco, bitter chocolate and licorice. Very ripe, broad and plush in the mouth, even a bit chunky, with black fruit, mocha, roast coffee, tar and licorice flavors coming across as a bit spiky today. Finishes with big, slightly tough tannins that call for at least five or six years of aging. "This vintage was more austere than either 2005 or 2007 early on," noted winemaker Martha McClellan, "and the tannins took longer to integrate." The wine was bottled barely a month before my visit.Vinous Media | 92+ VM

98+
RP
As low as $355.00
2008 sloan proprietary red California Red

The 2008 Sloan Estate is racy and totally elegant from start to finish. It shows gorgeous freshness and vibrancy in its expressive dark red fruit, flowers, licorice and tobacco. Today the 2008 comes across as a relatively understated, subdued vintage for this wine. It should be absolutely fabulous in another few years. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2028.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96+ RP(14.8% alcohol): Bright medium ruby. Pure and high-pitched if reticent on the nose, offering aromas of blackberry, licorice, violet, menthol and sweet oak lifted by an element of dusty stone. Wonderfully suave, fine-grained and light on its feet, with a sexy oak element complementing the black raspberry, mineral and spice flavors. Very dense but not at all heavy, showing terrific floral energy and a light touch for this bottling, with no sign of dehydrated berries. The fruit still conveys a distinctly primary character but the wine’s verve makes it delicious already--in fact, I’m tempted to say that anyone who doesn’t love this is a spoilsport or a masochist. Wonderfully harmonious wine with the underlying spine to support a long evolution in bottle. The substantial dusty tannins show some obvious new oak.Vinous Media | 95 VMA rich, maturing Napa cabernet sauvignon with rich redcurrant-jelly character and a lot of subtle notes, ranging from cedar to savory chocolate caramel. Then comes a much more serious structure on the palate than the nose suggested, the tannins firm but well integrated. Long finish with some mineral character. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 93 JS

98
JS
As low as $395.00
2010 dalla valle maya California Red

The 2010 Maya is a less evolved, more backward, brooding wine with a dense opaque blue/purple color, explosive richness, and abundant notes of incense, camphor, charcoal, blackberries, blueberries and hints of violets and forest floor. Full-bodied, pure, deep, structured and powerful, this massive Maya comes across as even bigger and richer than the 2009. Forget it for 3-5 years and drink it over the following 30+ years. Drink Date 2016 - 2046 Robert Parker The Wine Advocate | 98+ RPNaoko Dalla Valle’s 2010 Maya is every bit as breathtaking as it has always been. An exotic mélange of raspberry jam, espresso, mocha and rose petal scents opens up in the glass. Alluring, powerful and totally captivating, the 2010 hits all the right notes. One of the more complete wines in this tasting, the Maya is brilliant as soon as the bottles are opened and then just keeps getting better and better as the hours go by. The 2010 vintage is full of highlights, but then there is a summit of excellence where a few wines are perched. Maya is one of them. In a word: magnificent!Antonio Galloni | 98+ AGFirm, dense and tannic, offering a potent mix of dried berry, black licorice, dried herb and savory notes, gaining tannic traction and ending with a wonderful push of flavors that bode well for the future. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2025. 420 cases made. Wine Spectator | 93 WS

98+
RP
As low as $465.00
2010 futo California Red

The flagship 2010 Futo is rich, deep and implosive. Layers of dark red fruit, mocha, licorice, spices and leather all flesh out in a dark, brooding wine loaded with class and personality. Graphite, cloves and violets appear later, adding complexity, but the 2010 is mostly a wine of structure and pure power. The finish alone is eternal. What a stunning wine the 2010 has turned out to be. The blend is 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot.Antonio Galloni | 98 AGThe 2010 Futo is incredibly closed today, which is hardly a surprise given the personality of the vintage and the wine’s recent bottling in June 2012. Intensely mineral and pointed, the 2010 is endowed with stunning minerality, energy and tension. This is a huge wine with little of the early appeal of many other vintages. Accordingly, it needs considerable time in the cellar. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2030.I was blown away by the wines I tasted with Tom Futo and his team, headed by winemaker Jason Exposto. Readers should make an effort to taste Futo’s second wine, OV, a nod to Oakford Vineyards, the previous winery on these grounds. Futo’s OV is easily one of the best second wines in the valley. In just about any other winery it would be the top wine. And a great one, at that. As for the flagship FutoYwell, it is pretty amazing in all three vintages I tasted. Futo fans will be happy to learn that the winery is working with a 25 year-old parcel in Stags’ Leap that will inform a new bottling if the quality of fruit is up to the estate’s fanatical standards.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97+ RPExplosive fruit is framed by smoky, cedary oak, with a core of blackberry and wild berry flavors that are firmly tannic and shaded by an espresso-mocha flavor that adds dimension. Finishes with firm, gripping tannins and good length. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2014 through 2025. 460 cases made.Wine Spectator | 93 WS

98
VM
As low as $635.00
2010 sloan proprietary red California Red

The 2010 Proprietary Red is very deep garnet colored with a hint of purple. It offers up wonderfully bold, expressive notes of crème de cassis, black cherry compote and mincemeat pie with wafts of bay leaves, incense, Chinese five spice and hoisin plus wafts of chargrill and yeast extract. Full-bodied, rich and opulent, the palate is laden with layer upon layer of exotic spice-laced black fruits with a firm yet plush frame and very long finish with some licorice notes coming through.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPFull medium ruby. Very ripe but reticent scents of black fruits, minerals, mocha, espresso and spices. Voluptuous and plush on entry, saturating the palate with a slightly unrefined wave of black fruits, minerals and mocha. This outsized, full-bodied, plummy wine shows lovely mineral verve, surprisingly restrained sweetness and a complicating saline element. Finishes with sumptuous, building tannins and terrific plum and graphite persistence. This wine is ripe enough to give great pleasure now but I’d still hold my bottles for the tannins to be further absorbed. It certainly has the stuffing to go on for many more years.Vinous Media | 94 VMA big and rich red with black currant and blueberry and chocolate. Full and vast. A more typical Napa cab of the period. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 94 JS

99
RP
As low as $565.00
2012 bond vineyards quella California Red

The 2012 Quella (from a steep 9-acre vineyard in the eastern Vaca hillsides) has an opaque purple color, a gorgeous nose of white flowers, sweet blackberry and cassis fruit, and a touch of vanilla and graphite. Full-bodied, like its siblings, with great fruit extract, terrific purity and richness, and high but velvety tannins, this wine should also benefit from another 3-5 years of cellaring and keep for 30+ years.Robert Parker | 98 RPLots of hot stone and slate on the nose with flowers. Dark berries too. Full body, dense mouthfeel. It lasts a long time with a salty, pomace undertone. Tight and muscular. Better in 2018.James Suckling | 97 JSSoft and caressing, the 2012 Quella is quite expressive today. Dark cherry, cedar, tobacco, smoke, licorice, incense and rose petal, along with soft silky contours, give the wine its distinct personality. Bright red stone fruit and lifted floral notes convey an impression of total sensuality. The 2012 is very pretty, but like so many wines in this vintage, it is a bit one-dimensional, especially when compared to some of the true standouts in this range.Vinous Media | 94 VM

98-100
RP
As low as $499.00
2012 dalla valle maya California Red

Dalla Valle was the first winery to demonstrate what heights Cabernet Franc could reach in the valley with their Maya proprietary blend, which averages 50-55% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2012 Maya is a spectacular offering. I recently had the 1991 (made by Tony Soter) and it is still drinking exceptionally well. In fact, it could still be called an adolescent at 23 years of age. The 2012 Maya is already revealing great complexity with notes of forest floor, licorice, truffles, red and blackcurrants and a hint of graphite. The beautiful aromatics are followed by an equally majestic, full-bodied, multidimensional wine of great class and elegance. This sensational effort should drink well for 25-30 years.Robert Parker | 98 RPThe 2012 Maya is surprisingly deep and powerful in this vintage, with none of the early appeal of the estate’s other 2012s. Today, the Maya is dark and brooding, with tons of intensity to match its massive, virile personality. Readers will have to be patient, but the 2012 is a special wine that much is clear.Vinous Media | 98+ VMA gorgeous and generous wine with blackberry, cedar and flower petal character. Full body, firm and silky tannins. A beautiful red with so much finesse and style. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 95 JSOffers pure, rich blackberry, wild berry, currant and cassis flavors, all creating a harmonious mix. The texture is supple and easy before the tannins become more evident. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2028. 700 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

98+
VM
As low as $395.00
2012 larkmead cabernet sauvignon solari California Red

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Solari (100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in 70% new French oak) is even better than I thought last year. This spectacular wine boasts notes of white chocolate, hot gravel, crème de cassis, blackberries, licorice and forest floor. A subtle smoky barbecue character is noticeable in the background. This is a thrilling, full-bodied, majestic Cabernet Sauvignon to drink over the next 25-30 years, although its tannic structure suggests cellaring it for 2-5 years will be beneficial.Robert Parker | 99 RPThe 2012 Solari is a stunning wine based on 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that spent 20 months in 70% new French oak. As with most 2012s, it’s drinking brilliantly today and sports a youthful ruby/purple hue as well as a monster bouquet of crème de cassis, graphite, dried earth, licorice, and Asian spices. It’s rich and powerful, with plenty of underling structure, yet it stays weightless as well as seamless on the palate, with flawless balance. This is a brilliant, heavenly Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that will continue showing well for another two decades or more.Jeb Dunnuck | 99 JDA broad, rich, expansive expression of dark berry, currant, espresso and mocha, this hits all the right notes, with touches of savory herb and tobacco leaf. Most impressive on the lingering finish, where the flavors run deep. Drink now through 2030. 1,090 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WSA wine with sliced mushroom, bark and spice plus berry and dark chocolate. Full body with forest flower, bramble, and light earth. Powerful and rich. A wonderful expression of cabernet sauvignon from here. Pure cab. Available in November. Give it two or three years to soften. Try in 2017.James Suckling | 95 JSGraphite, smoke, licorice, incense, game and black fruit race across the palate in the 2012 Solari. This is an especially explosive, structured wine for the vintage, with superb balance and the density to support years of exceptional drinking. Black cherries, plums, game and tobacco reappear on the huge finish. This is a rare 2012 that demands patience.Antonio Galloni | 94+ AG

99
JD
As low as $305.00
2014 dominus California Red

Loads of dark tobacco aromas with blackcurrants and black olives. Boysenberries, too. Full to medium body, ultra-fine tannins and lots of flavors of smoke, dried roasted chillis, black truffles, mushrooms and fruit. Bright acidity on the finish. Sexy and subtle austerity. Alluring. Very approachable now but better in 2021.James Suckling | 98 JSComing from their valley floor site in Yountville, the 2014 Dominus is a rich, concentrated red, especially in 2014. A blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot, it sports a deep ruby/plum color as well as a ripe nose of blackcurrants, unsmoked tobacco, lead pencil, licorice and smoked earth. With a ripe, full-bodied, concentrated style, sweet tannin, and a great finish, it has some similarities to the 1990 and will evolve for three decades or more. There’s 4,300 cases of this beauty.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDThe 2014s, where the production of Napanook was only 2,200 cases and Dominus slightly more than the 2015 at 4,000 cases, was another early harvest, although somewhat later than 2015. The 2014 Dominus, which is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot really struts its stuff. Moueix’s belief in dry farming seems to be paying off with stronger and stronger vintages, each successive year, and the 2014 is a sexy, opulent, layered, multidimensional wine with notes of red and blackcurrant, cedar wood, tobacco leaf , spice box and licorice. The color is a dense plum/ruby/purple, much like the Napanook. This is a beauty that is already drinking gorgeously – as most 2014s are – and will continue to evolve for 25 or so years.Robert Parker | 97 RPThe 2014 Dominus is endowed with tons of depth, power and muscle. Black cherry, plum, smoke, menthol, licorice, chocolate, dried herbs and dark spices are all pushed forward. Deep, pliant and exquisitely layered, the 2014 possesses tons of concentration and mid-palate depth. Like so many wines in this vintage, the 2014 comes across as a hybrid of 2013 and 2012. I very much like the energy and focus in this wine. This is a fabulous wine in every way. With time in the glass, the flavors gain in brightness and focus. There is certainly much to look forward to.Vinous Media | 96 VMAn initially reticent bouquet opens in the decanter and glass to reveal notes of blackberry, rich spice, tobacco leaf, elderberry and lily pollen. On the palate, fine, powdery tannins frame an elegant, deep wine with a lovely core of cool fruit. This will require some time in the cellar to reveal all its potential. Drinking Window 2022 - 2042.Decanter | 95 DECCedar, herb and savory sage open into a strong element of forest floor and rose garden. Tight firm tannin wrap around a robust ripeness that finds balance in accompanying acidity.Wine Enthusiast | 94 WE

98
TWI
As low as $195.00
2015 kapcsandy robertas reserve state lane California Red

Made from 100% Merlot, the 2015 Merlot Roberta’s Reserve has a deep garnet-purple color and gorgeous nose of black plums, warm blueberries and mocha with touches of anise, red roses and spice box. Medium to full-bodied and densely packed with layers of blue and black fruits and perfumed notions, it has a firm yet plush backbone to support and a very long, layered finish.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RPSaturated ruby-red. Brooding, medicinal scents of dark cherry, menthol and licorice. Boasts outstanding breadth and density of material, with its expressive flavors of black cherry, dark berries, spices and bitter chocolate complicated by salty minerality and lifted by a subtle floral quality. This distinctly soil-driven wine is showing more personality today than the ’16 and should reach its plane of peak drinkability earlier. And yet my sample tightened up in the glass to show a rather powerful tannic spine. (14.4% alcohol; 100% Merlot; from fruit harvested three weeks earlier than in 2016; 88% new French, 3% new Hungarian and 9% second-fill French)Vinous Media | 96 VMThe 2015 Merlot Roberta’s Reserve is a textbook expression of Merlot and it has a pretty, yet sexy style to go with lots of blue fruits, violets, leafy herbs and graphite aromas and flavors. Like all the 2015s from this estate, it has sensational purity of fruit, is impeccably balanced, and has ultra-fine tannin. Drink this terrific 2015 anytime over the coming two decades.Jeb Dunnuck | 96 JDA juicy and rich red with dark berries, hazelnuts and chocolate. Some tile, too. Full and juicy with lots of fruit. Hints of salt, crushed stones and oyster shell. A pure merlot this year. Layered and juicy. Drink in 2020.James Suckling | 94 JS

98
RP
As low as $369.00
2015 opus one California Red

Purity and brilliance on the nose with so much currant and flower character. Roses, currant bush and fresh leaves, too. Brightness is the word that comes to mind. Full-bodied and broad-shouldered. Juicy and so gorgeous now. Balance is so wonderful here. All about harmonious fruit and tannin balance. I like it slightly better than the excellent 2014. 81% cabernet sauvignon, 4% petit verdot, 7% cabernet franc, 6% merlot and 2% malbec. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 98 JSThe 2015 Opus One is rich, sensual and super-polished. That said, 2015 has really shut down since I tasted it last year, which is probably a very good sign for the future. All of the fruit intensity and ripeness of the vintage is evident, but the wine feels a bit more compact and less exuberant than it did at the outset. Sweet floral and spice notes add a gentler touch as the wine opens up just a bit with air.Antonio Galloni | 97 AG“This wine was too much—too much like a caricature for me,” winemaker Michael Silacci confessed to me while tasting the 2015 Opus One together again recently. “So, when we took it out of barrel to prepare for bottling we added a few more components.” Medium to deep garnet-purple color, it bursts from the glass with beautiful violets, lavender, rose hip tea and chocolate-covered cherries scents over a core of crushed blackberries, black cherries, cassis and iron ore. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is wonderfully bright and crunchy, with bags of fresh black and red berries and a wonderfully plush, finely grained texture, finishing long and fragrant.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPThe hottest vintage since 2008, this is full of spice and still an absolute baby. Touch of heat through the mid-palate, but it's seductive and luxurious, with cocoa, espresso and black chocolate notes that barely let up. A wine that you want to lean in to - and again a wine that needs time in bottle. If you can't wait, make sure you find an uninterrupted evening and a large carafe - this needs time and oxygen to edge towards uncurling these tight, rich flavours. Seam of acidity promises great things ahead. 2% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot completes the blend, 21 days skin contact. Drinking Window 2026 - 2044Decanter | 96 DECPure, rich dark berry, plum and gravelly earth flavors are framed by spicy, cedary oak notes, ending long, clean and elegant, with just the right touch of tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. Best from 2020 through 2030. 21,600 cases made.Wine Spectator | 93 WS

97
RP
As low as $475.00
2016 mt. eden cabernet sauvignon estate California Red

Mount Eden’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon represents the essence of what Cabernet Sauvignon is all about in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Deep, powerful and explosive, the 2016 simply has it all. A wine of tremendous depth and intensity. Readers, take note. This is world class Cabernet Sauvignon that in any other region would cost 2-3 times as much. Savory and expansive, with tons of mountain character and remarkable richness from low yields in 2016, the Cabernet Sauvignon is simply off the charts. It’s another utterly breathtaking wine from Mount Eden.Antonio Galloni | 98 AGThe 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is blended with 12% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The nose offers pure cassis finely layered with Chinese five spice, dried rose petals, graphite and pipe tobacco with a wild, game-like undercurrent. The palate is seamless, opening to an array of detailed fruits and spices, with a silt-like structure and expansive juicy uplift. It’s a wonderfully balanced Cabernet that offers immediate appeal plus everything it needs for a long life in the cellar. 1,582 cases produced.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97+ RPThe combination of high-elevation vineyards, oceanic influence and surrounding coniferous forest give Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet a singular profile, and few show it off as well as Mount Eden. Aged 22 months in 50% new oak, a mixture of French and American. Contains 12% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. American wood instils notes of candied orange rind and coconut flakes into an otherwise gravel-driven nose. The palate has a graceful, buoyant quality that gently floats across the palate. The finish is very dry and wound up like a spring, which will continue to be the case for the next several years. This is a wine to slowly let unfurl, both when ageing and consuming; open several hours in advance. Drinking Window 2024 - 2054.Decanter | 96 DECDried dark fruit, toasted cedar, shaved cocoa and sappy redwood tones make for a very dry expression on the nose of this classic bottling. Those elements meet with dense and dry blackberry and black plum on the sip, where dried herbs, black-pepper and soy flavors also arise. The elegant structure is such that this wine just doesn’t die, even after more than a week of sitting open. Drink 2022–2046.Wine Enthusiast | 95 WENo written review provided. | 95 W&SThis shows a zesty mix of sage and grilled savory notes, backed by a sleek black currant, plum and black cherry core. The singed alder and mesquite frame shows on the finish, which is tightly focused and youthfully closed for now, with just a bolt of iron showing. When this rounds into form, it will be a winner. Best from 2023 through 2036. 1,259 cases made. Wine Spectator | 93 WS

98
VM
As low as $129.00
2016 opus one California Red

Fantastic aromas that are complex and complete with blackcurrants, blueberries and herbs, such as basil and bay leaf. But always subtle. Full-bodied yet linear and very refined with a very persistent finish. It shows drive and brightness. So refined at the end. Needs at least three to five years to come together.James Suckling | 99 JSLove the juiciness of this, right off the bat, rich deep black cherry rippling with menthol and eucalyptus notes, and these beautiful floral aromatics that Opus gets in the best years. A very classic style, touches of baked vanilla, rosemary and olive. Harvest 9th September to 12th October (starting off slowly then speeding up as the heat rose). 1% Malbec, 8% Petit Verdot completes the blend, 17 days skin contact. Drinking Window 2027 - 2044.Decanter | 98 DECDeep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Opus One offers up bold, expressive black and blue fruits: warm black plums, black cherries, blackcurrants and wild blueberries with a beautiful undercurrent of lilacs, roses, fertile loam, underbrush and Indian spices. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is a tightly coiled spring ready to explode, with fantastic tension and wonderfully ripe, very fine-grained tannins, finishing very long with a mineral lift.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RPThe 2016 Opus One is brilliant and shows yet again that 2016 was a magical vintage for Napa Valley. Based largely on Cabernet Sauvignon mixed with 8% each of Petit Verdot and Merlot, with 5% Cabernet Franc and a splash of Malbec, its deep purple hue is followed by a beautiful bouquet of black cherries, crème de cassis, and blueberry fruit intermixed with notions of cedary spice, toasty oak, graphite, and flowers. With an almost Bordeaux-like class and structure, this full-bodied beauty has no hard edges, plenty of ripe tannins, and is extraordinarily pure, elegant, and long. It can be drunk today (give it a healthy decant) or cellared for 2-3 decades.Jeb Dunnuck | 97+ JDThe 2016 Opus One is a wine of real breadth and power. Black cherry, plum, leather and spice flesh out effortlessly, but what stands out most is the wine's textural intensity and sheer power. Readers will have to wait a number of years until the 2016 is at its best, but it is clearly another in a line of gorgeous recent Opus Ones from Michael Silacci and his team.Antonio Galloni | 96+ AGA focused, restrained style, with a steady beam of fresh red and black currant preserve flavors, laced with bay leaf, cedar and tobacco notes. An iron edge pierces the finish, while the fruit keeps pace. A bit more classically backward than its Oakville peers, so tuck this away in the cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Best from 2020 through 2038. 21,900 cases made. — JMWine Spectator | 94 WS

99
JS
As low as $515.00
2016 tesseron estate pym-rae napa valley California Red

This is the debut vintage of this wine from the esteemed Bordeaux owner, Alfred Tesseron, who bought the property in the Napa mountains in 2016. Aromas of plums, wet earth, fresh herbs and tobacco. Some green olives. Turns to blueberries and blackberries. Full-bodied, yet reserved and layered with chocolate, walnuts and plums. Firm yet polished tannins give a framed sense to the wine. Savory. Racy and beautifully structured, it’s extremely drinkable already. Real wine.James Suckling | 98 JSA blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Pym-Rae displays a deep garnet-purple color and reveals wonderfully fragrant notes of candied violets, wilted roses, damp soil and black tea over a core of red and black currants, black cherries and warm blackberries plus touches of cigar box and camphor. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is evocatively singular, offering that rock-solid structure of mountain fruit, yet these are wonderfully ripe, silt-like tannins that beautifully support the elegant red and black fruit layers, finishing very long and very perfumed.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RP

98
JS
As low as $269.00
2017 sloan estate proprietary red California Red

Wonderful aromas of blueberries, blackberries, mushrooms, pine and blackcurrants. Some violets, too. Full-bodied, yet so refined and polished with wonderful fruit and a linear tannin structure that integrates beautifully into the wine. It’s so balanced and beautiful. Hard not to drink now, but better after 2023.James Suckling | 98 JSThe 2017 Proprietary Red brings everything up a solid notch. Dense purple/plum-hued, with gorgeous, Graves-like nose of blackcurrants, chocolate, scorched earth, tobacco leaf, and gravelly earth, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a polished, elegant texture, building yet sweet tannins, and a great finish. Very much in the style of the 2017 vintage with its nicely concentrated, elegant, reserved yet endearing style, it’s going to drink nicely for 20-25 years.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDThe deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Proprietary Red sails out of the glass with open-knit, compelling scents of Black Forest cake, blackberry pie and black currant jelly with suggestions of Indian spices, garrigue, rose oil and sandalwood. The full-bodied palate is richly fruited and jam-packed with opulent black fruit preserves and exotic spice layers, framed by a wicked backbone of freshness and plush, well-managed tannins, finishing with impressive length and perfume.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96+ RPThe 2017 Sloan is very nicely done. As is typical of the year, Sloan is on the lighter side in 2017, and yet all the elements are impeccably balanced. Black cherry, spice, licorice, lavender and chocolate open with a bit of time in the glass. Soft, succulent and quite gracious, the 2017 will drink well with minimal cellaring. I suspect it will always retain some of the nervous tension that is to be expected for a wine made from fruit picked a bit earlier than would have been optimal and with fewer barrel ferments, both choices imposed by the fires that year.Antonio Galloni | 94 AG

98
JS
As low as $749.00
2018 Aubert Chardonnay CIX

CIX stands for 109, because this was originally called “Parcel 109” when Aubert bought the vineyard. Planted in 2008 to Montrachet clone, the 2018 Chardonnay CIX Estate is wonderfully intense, exploding from the glass with lime cordial, apricot and mandarin peel scents of citrus, followed by suggestions of jasmine, honey toast and marzipan with a touch of coriander seed. The full-bodied palate is jam-packed with expressive citrus and stone fruit layers, framed by an electric line of freshness and finishing long with amazing purity and precision.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 99 RPAnother Sonoma Coast release, the 2018 Chardonnay CIX just about knocks it out of the park, offering a medium/lighter gold hue, a huge nose of ripe pineapple, caramelized pears, flower oil, nectarines, and salty minerality, full-bodied richness, integrated acidity, and a stunning finish. It’s everything you expect from a Chardonnay from Mark Aubert – stunning purity, opulence paired with freshness, incredible length, and flawless balance. Drink it over the coming decade.Jeb Dunnuck | 99 JDLots of ripe-nectarine, lemon-curd, dried-mango and smoked-cashew aromas. Salted butter notes. Ash, too. It’s full-bodied, creamy and smooth with a gradual and graceful evolution of ripe fruit to stone and flint on the finish. Solid density. Agile. Better in a year or two.James Suckling | 98 JSThe 2018 Chardonnay CIX Vineyard is a seamless, gorgeous beauty. Orchard fruit, mint, white pepper and floral notes all run through this super-expressive, alluring Chardonnay from Mark Aubert. In the glass, the CIX is understated and nuanced rather than overt. I find it absolutely mesmerizing.Vinous Media | 94-97 VMRestrained but immediately compelling, pretty, creamy nose. The palate dismisses the dairy notes and becomes immediately more flavourful, the acidity growing in intensity and driving through to a long, succulent finish. A beautiful dance between softness and power. This wine truly appeals to me on both a personal and professional level – well crafted and deliciously delivered.Decanter | 97 DECFeatures a steely structure, with concentrated freshly cut apple, brioche and Asian pear flavors, supported by crunchy acidity. Pure and minerally midpalate, offering a long finish that echoes with subtle sea salt and chamomile accents. Best from 2022 through 2027. 1,085 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WS

99
JD
As low as $199.00
2018 aubert chardonnay hudson vineyard California White

Ripe-peach, chalk, smoked-almond, matchstick and phenolic aromas. Floral notes, too. It’s full-bodied, creamy and oily. So balanced and restrained, yet dense and impressive. Minerally. Give this time.James Suckling | 99 JSThe 2018 Chardonnay Hudson is sourced from Hudson selection, Old Wente clone vines that are 22 years old and planted on the Napa side of Carneros. The nose is redolent of butterscotch, baked apples, spice cake and chopped cashews with a core of baked pineapples and preserved lemons. The rich, full-bodied, decadently fruited palate offers layer upon layer of savory flavors with compelling lemony sparks and a seamless acid backbone, finishing seductively creamy and on a long-lingering honey-nut note.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPThe 2018 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard is another superb wine in this range. Unctuous and creamy, with striking freshness, the Hudson has so much to offer. White pepper, mint, orchard fruit and lemon confit are all given an extra kick of intensity in this racy, beautifully layered Chardonnay from Aubert.Antonio Galloni | 94-97 AGConcentrated poached pear and apple pastry flavors are plush and open-textured. Shows juicy richness midpalate. Buttery pastry notes linger on the finish. Drink now through 2024. 851 cases made.Wine Spectator | 92 WS

99
JS
As low as $199.00
2018 bond melbury California Red

Leading off the 2018s from barrel, the 2018 Melbury is spectacular juice, offering an already complex nose of cassis and black raspberry fruits intermixed with notes of dried flowers, graphite, chalky mineral, and spice. All about elegance and purity, it’s full-bodied, flawlessly balanced, and a great wine in the making.Jeb Dunnuck | 97-99 JDA barrel sample, the 2018 Melbury sports a deep garnet-purple and sashays out of the glass with bold, gregarious scents of fresh black cherries, mulberries and plums with hints of black currants, cinnamon toast and Sichuan pepper. Medium to full-bodied, elegant and refreshing, it is chock-full of crunchy fruit with compelling mineral accents coming through on the long finish.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96-98 RPThe 2018 Melbury is, as always, the first of the single-vineyard wines presented at Bond. The order is always the same: Melbury-Quella-St. Eden-Vecina and Pluribus. I suppose that makes sense from the standpoint of concentration and structure, but it is quite penalizing for the Melbury, a wine that is more about elegance than power or tannins. That said, the 2018 is not a shy wine, it certainly has plenty of depth. Freshness, energy and verve are the signatures in a Cabernet that is all about intangibles. Hints of dark red cherry, tobacco, rose petal, mint and sweet spice emerge over time. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.Antonio Galloni | 98 AGBrightness and purity to this, offering blueberries, fresh plums and peaches. It’s medium-to full-bodied with ripe, fine tannins Terra cotta and red fruit at the end. Dusty texture. Drink after 2023, but so good now.James Suckling | 98 JSPacked with dark blackberry and black currant preserves, this has nicely coiled energy, with sassafras and apple wood accents mixed with flashes of sweet bay leaf and tobacco. Subtle sanguine and black tea hints curl around the finish. Best from 2023 through 2037.Wine Spectator | 95 WS

98
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As low as $699.00
2018 dvo napa valley red California Red

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (containing a splash of Cabernet Franc) is a brand-new wine, representing a collaboration between Dalla Valle in Napa Valley and Ornellaia Estate in Tuscany (hence DVO). Deep garnet-purple colored, it is intensely scented of baked plums, boysenberries and Black Forest cake with an emerging perfume of potpourri, Indian spices and forest floor. The full-bodied palate is opulently fruited and plushly textured, delivering bags of floral and spicy nuances with a long, mineral and earth-tinged finish. Draped in flamboyant drama, this is a very different, very exciting new face of Napa Valley! 400 cases were made.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98+ RPA new project between Dalla Valle and Ornellaia that has been in the works for several years now, the 2018 DVO is made at Dalla Valle yet focuses more on the southern part of the valley as well as hillside fruit. It’s starting out in the 500-case range, but the goal is to grow the production toward 2,000 cases. The 2018 is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (there’s a small amount of Cabernet Franc) from Oakville and Mount Veeder, and the élevage is similar to Dalla Valle, brought up in a mix of new and used oak. It’s a beautiful wine with a complex, savory bouquet of cassis and currant fruits intermixed with notes of chocolate, bouquet garni, and scorched earth. It’s youthful and unevolved on the palate, yet has beautiful purity, ripe, silky tannins, and a great finish. A classy, structured 2018, it needs to be forgotten for 4-6 years and is going to evolve for 20 years or more.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDAn extremely balanced and polished red with blackberry, currant, a touch of fresh herbs, light walnut and cedar. Medium-to full-bodied with very fine tannins and a tight, intense finish. Very precise for the vintage. This is the new collaboration wine between Napa’s Dalla Valle and Tuscany’s Ornellaia. Drink after 2025, but already a beauty.James Suckling | 96 JSThe 2018 Proprietary Blend is the first release from a new joint venture that brings together the forces of Dalle Valle and Tuscany's Tenuta dell'Ornellaia. A beautiful, racy wine, the 2018 captures all the energy and brightness that are such signatures of the sites in Oakville, Mt. Veeder and Coombsville that inform this blend. Bright acids and veins of tannin drive a core of red berry fruit, cedar, blood orange, cedar and cinnamon. A generous dollop of Cabernet Franc (15%) comes through beautifully in a brisk, vibrant wine that dazzles right out of the gate. The 2018 spent 22 months in barrel (70% new) and a month in tank prior to bottling. It is scheduled for release in Spring 2020. This is a fabulous debut.Vinous Media | 96 VM

98+
RP
As low as $315.00
2018 favia cabernet sauvignon California Red

Readers looking for a killer Cabernet that won’t break the bank should check out the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Carbone from Favia. This dense purple-hued beauty boasts classic cassis and blueberry-like fruit intermixed with lots of tobacco, lead pencil shavings, violets, and spring flower nuances. These carry to a medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced, elegant Cabernet with a great mid-palate and the class to evolve for 10-15 years. It’s well worth seeking out.Jeb Dunnuck | 94 JDThe 2018 Carbone Cabernet Sauvignon is a bright, effusive wine. Sweet red berry fruit, mocha and a whole range of floral/savory aromatics burst from the glass. Medium in body and inviting, the 2018 drinks well now, but it also has the vibrancy to develop nicely in bottle. Carbone is the second wine of Favia.Vinous Media | 92 VM

98
JD
As low as $199.00
2018 joseph phelps insignia California Red

Blackberry and black chocolate with mint, conifer and clove. Sweet tobacco, violets and flowers, too. Some graphite. Cool and complex. Full-bodied with ultra fine, dusty tannins and a wonderful, extremely long finish. Savory and refined. A classic-styled 2018. This needs time, but is so approachable and gorgeous. One of the best Insignias ever. Alive and changing all the time. 40% Stags Leap AVA. 87% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot, 3% malbec and 2% cabernet franc. Leave this for five or six years, but so wonderful now.James Suckling | 99 JSThe 2018 Insignia checks in as 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and the rest Cabernet Franc, from a mix of vineyards (mostly in the southern part of the valley) aged two years in new French oak. It has an incredible bouquet of cassis, currants, dark chocolate, lead pencil, and tobacco, and while it’s unquestionably Napa, it has a regal, structured, almost Bordeaux-like vibe as well. Full-bodied, perfectly balanced, and layered on the palate, with silky tannins, this quintessential Insignia is up with the finest vintages of this cuvée I’ve tasted and is in the same realm as the 1997 (the first vintage I bought for my personal cellar), 2001, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016. 17,000 cases.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDThis impressive blend combines 87% Cabernet Sauvignon with 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc, aging the whole for 24 months in 100% new French oak. Elements of cedar, sage, dried herb and underbrush meet rich red fruit and chalky tannins, with a dusting of cocoa throughout. Enjoy from 2028–2038.Wine Enthusiast | 98 WEThe 2018 Insignia is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. The vineyard sources this year include: 30% Las Rocas (Stags Leap District),18% Yountville (Oak Knoll District), 13% Banca Dorada (Rutherford), 18% Suscol (South Napa Valley), 14% Home Ranch (St. Helena), 12% Las Rocas (Stags Leap District), 7% Barboza (Stags Leap District). It was aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels.Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes storming out of the glass with powerful notes of blackcurrant cordial, stewed black plums and boysenberries, plus hints of cedar chest, graphite, menthol and wet slate with a fragrant waft of clove oil. The medium to full-bodied palate already demonstrates remarkable balance at this youthful stage, featuring a firm backbone of fine-grained tannins and bold freshness to support the tightly wound, crunchy black fruits, finishing long and spicy. 17,000 cases were made.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97+ RPThis shows the excellence of the 2018 vintage in Napa made by seasoned winemaker Ashley Hepworth who, this year, celebrates 23 years at Joseph Phelps. The wine opens with a seductive, fruity and generous nose followed by a mass of concentrated blackberry flavours edged with creamy coffee and caramel tones. Instantly mouthwatering then there comes a kick of power with spice and black pepper surrounding the tongues and cheeks. Needs some time to integrate but this is a fine example of Cabernet with freshness, poise and power. A blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc from estate-grown Napa Valley vineyards: 30% Las Rocas Vineyard (Stags Leap District), 18% Suscol Vineyard (South Napa Valley), 18% Yountville Vineyard (Oak Knoll District), 14% Home Ranch Vineyard (St. Helena), 13% Banca Dorada Vineyard (Rutherford), and 7% Barboza Vineyard (Stags Leap District). Wines were aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak. Drinking Window 2025 - 2040.Decanter | 96 DECThe 2018 Insignia is racy and exuberant to the core. Soft and plush, with fabulous balance, the 2018 is such a showy wine today. Blackberry jam, leather, mocha, cloves and menthol build effortlessly. The 2018 can be enjoyed with minimal cellaring, but it also clearly has the potential to age. It is a total charmer today.Vinous Media | 96 AGThis is richly layered, with cassis, crushed plum and blackberry puree flavors moving through slowly but steadily, while warm earth, ganache and black licorice notes follow along. Picks up a tarry edge on the finish as the fruit takes an encore. For fans of the muscular, fruit-driven style. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2036. 17,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

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As low as $245.00
2018 patria avoyelles napa red California Red

A magical wine in every sense, the 2018 Avoyelles Oakville Ranch checks in as 48% Cabernet Franc, 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Petit Verdot. More expressive than the A. Price Vineyard (which should be expected, given the difference in the blends), is has a beautiful perfume of crème de cassis, red currants, toasted spice, graphite, and dried flowers, with a touch of tobacco and earth developing with time in the glass. Hitting the palate with full-bodied richness, it has a layered, multi-dimensional texture, incredible tannins, and a great, great finish. In the same league as the 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017, it’s a brilliant wine to enjoy over the coming 15-20 years or more.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDThe 2018 Oakville Ranch Avoyelles is composed of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple in color, it sashays out of the glass with notions of baked plums, Morello cherries, redcurrants and dried herbs plus hints of pencil lead and tobacco leaf. Full-bodied, the palate possesses tightly wound layers of bright, expressive red and black fruits, offering a firm, grainy texture and bags of freshness, finishing long and savory. 155 cases were made.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPThe 2018 Avoyelles is another impressive wine from Tony Biagi. Powerful, dense and explosive, with tons of energy, the Avoyelles possesses tremendous vibrancy. Dark fruit, mocha, leather, spice and graphite give this statuesque beauty tons of character and personality. Biagi’s Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend from Oakville Ranch is once again stunning.Antonio Galloni | 96 AGA rich, layered red with lots of crushed berries and cherries. Opulent and lush, in Napa style. Needs time for the intense tannins to soften. Cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot. Better after 2021.James Suckling | 94 JS

98
JD
As low as $145.00
2018 paul hobbs cabernet sauvignon beckstoffer las piedras vineyard California Red

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard opens with provocative ferrous, crushed rocks and tar notes over a core of crème de cassis, redcurrant jelly and raspberry leaves with a hint of wild fungi. The medium to full-bodied palate is taut with tension and jam-packed with pure black and red fruits, supported by firm, grainy tannins, finishing with uplifting mineral sparks. This energetic beauty needs some time. Give it a good 4-5 years in bottle and drink it over the next 25 years+. 396 cases were made.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RPThe 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard is such a gorgeous and highly representative wine off this site. Crushed rocks, graphite, menthol, crème de cassis and spice are so typical of this site. At this stage, the Piedras does not have the sheer appeal or immediacy of the Crane, but then again, that is Piedras. All of this fruit is Clone 4, which in this rugged site yields very small berries with plenty of concentration. And that is exactly what comes through in this majestic Cabernet.Vinous Media | 96 VMA juicy, round-textured red with plum and berry character, as well chocolate and spice. Wet rock, too. It’s full-bodied and layered with pretty fruit and a long, flavorful finish. Extremely polished and poised. A little tight at the finish. Drink after 2023, but already very attractive.James Suckling | 96 JSRipe and vivid, with a lovely display of cassis, plum and anise flavors driving through nicely, while violet and graphite accents add range and length. A light bramble accent underscores it all, adding good energy. A really strong showing. Best from 2022 through 2036. 396 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WS

98
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As low as $299.00
2018 paul hobbs cabernet sauvignon beckstoffer to kalon vineyard California Red

Aromas of blackberries, currants, violets and black licorice follow through to a full body with chewy, polished tannins that have a tile and dust character and texture. It’s very long and persistent with beauty and intensity. It shows reserve and finesse. This needs at least five years to come around. Try after 2025.James Suckling | 98 JSDeep garnet-purple in color, the nose of the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard starts off with soft-spoken scents of ripe red and black plums, cassis, black raspberries and mulberries, followed by gentle wafts of cedar and pencil lead and finally bursting out with Sichuan pepper and hoisin notes. The medium to full-bodied palate is opulent, plushly textured and brimming with spicy red and blackberry layers, going beautifully perfumed on the long finish. Paul Hobbs mentioned that he backed off on the new oak this year, aging the wine in 85% new French oak (as opposed to 100%). I love this more elegant, nuanced expression a lot. 688 cases were made.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98+ RPThe 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard is fabulous. Inky, deep and explosive, the 2018 possesses tremendous intensity in all of its dimensions. Huge swaths of tannin wrap around a core of blue/purplish fruit. All the elements are kicked up: fruit, acid and tannin. Readers need to be patient, as the 2018 will require at least a handful of years in bottle to be at its best. The heady, explosive finish points to a very bright future.Antonio Galloni | 97 AGVivid, detailed flavors of cassis, kirsch and fig paste pump along, laced with alder, cocoa and tobacco notes. The fruit melds nicely with a serious tug of warm loam through the finish, giving this a smoldering edge at the very end. Shows nice character. Best from 2022 through 2038. 688 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WS

98+
RP
As low as $529.00
2018 philip togni cabernet sauvignon California Red

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is sensual and polished. Bright acids lend energy as this super-finessed Cabernet opens in the glass. Crushed red berry fruit, cedar, rose petal and mint all open with a bit of coaxing. The 2018 is going to need a number of years to be at its very best. It is elegant, nuanced and simply impeccable, but also a bit reticent at this stage. Readers who are familiar with these wines know they need time to come into their own. If that is not possible, I suggest opening it well in advance, even a day or two.Antonio Galloni | 96+ AGMedium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate offers up intense notes of crushed black currants, fresh blackberries and ripe red plums with hints of pencil lead, black raspberries, underbrush and unsmoked cigars plus a touch of tapenade. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers bold, crunchy black and red berry layers with a lively backbone and firm, grainy tannins, finishing long and energetic. 1,470 cases were made.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96+ RPThis throwback starts with an expressive mix of savory, menthol and tobacco notes followed by very racy red currant, damson plum and bitter cherry fruit. Licorice root and warm earth accents fill in on the finish, with an iron note piercing through at the end. This is seriously grippy, with an old-school, rugged personality. Not for everyone, but loaded with character. Needs time in the cellar to fully round into form. Best from 2027 through 2040. 1,470 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

98
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As low as $169.00

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