1- Lail Vineyards 2016 J. Daniel Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley California
Wine Advocate 100 Rating $278.99
One-hundred percent Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in 75% new French oak, the 2016 J Daniel Cuvee is deep garnet-purple in color and offers up exuberant notes of crème de cassis, chocolate-covered cherries, wild blueberries, violets and unsmoked cigars with touches of garrigue, fragrant earth, powdered cinnamon, black olives and tree bark. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is built like a brick house, with a solid frame of firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness supporting the taut, muscular fruit, finishing long and minerally. 950 cases produced.
2- Schrader “RBS – Beckstoffer To Kalon” 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley California
Jeb Dunnuck 97 Rating $399.99
Lots of violets, flowery incense, cassis, and spice notes emerge from the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard RBS, a full-bodied, silky, elegant 2019 that shines just as much for its purity and balance as its richness and depth. Possessing good acidity, a lively, vibrant mouthfeel, supple tannins, and a great finish, it has plenty of up-front appeal yet should easily evolve for a solid 20 years if properly stored.
3- VHR Vine Hill Ranch 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa Valley California
Jeb Dunnuck 98 Rating $349.99
Sporting a saturated purple color, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon VHR is a total blockbuster that spent 21 months in French oak. It knocks it out of the park with its Pauillac-like bouquet of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, damp earth, lead pencil shavings, and cedarwood. Hitting the palate with a massive texture and full body, it’s a powerful, full throttle effort that has remarkable balance, ripe tannins, and an opulent, sexy texture that’s a joy to drink. Despite its flamboyant style, it’s perfectly balanced and is a sensational wine. Feel free to drink it any time over the coming 20-25 years. Bravo!
4- Sine Qua Non 2017 Syrah The Hated Hunter California
Jeb Dunnuck 98-100 Rating $399.99
the 2017 Syrah No Name Yet looks to be another magical wine from this estate, which has produced an incredible number of truly profound wines over the coming 10-15 years. Made from 82.4% Syrah, 7.8% Petite Sirah, and the rest Mourvèdre, Grenache, Viognier, and Petit Manseng, it will spend 23 months or so in 59% new French oak. My notes are sprinkled with a few expletives, but it does everything right, offering incredible purity of fruit, notes of white flowers, cured meats, spice box, and blackcurrants, full-bodied richness, and a seamless texture. It shows the pretty, perfumed, ripe style of the vintage yet is flawlessly balanced. The 2017s have a touch of the 2015 structure and austerity, so plan on 4-5 years of bottle age.
5- Devil Proof Vineyards 2019 Malbec Farrow Ranch Alexander Valley
Wine Advocate 98 Rating $349.99
Winemaker Jesse Katz and associate winemaker Hillary Sjolund continue to focus their efforts, and resources, to perfect this small-production varietal Malbec from Alexander Valley. Most exciting is the recent acquisition of the entire Farrow Ranch (76 acres), which will allow for a new vineyard-designate Cabernet Sauvignon from Devil Proof in the future. Katz and Sjolund have also integrated puncheons into their maturation program, with plans to include concrete in the future. The 2019 Malbec Farrow Ranch was matured in about 20% new 500-liter puncheons, and is a more lifted, elegant style than the ultra-concentrated 2018. Deep ruby-purple, it has a singular aromatic personality, bursting with pure scents of Morello cherries, boysenberries, cast iron, violets, thyme and milk chocolate, offering up new nuances with each return to the glass. The medium-bodied palate is velvety and energetic, with a very long finish. Only 424 cases of this stunning Malbec were made.