More Bottles and Pairings:
Not long ago Screaming Eagle, probably the most famous and certainly the most sought-after Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in existence, raised its release price to $500 a bottle. This news made wine collectors raise an eyebrow. Yet price still isn't as much an issue as availability, since procuring a bottle of Screaming Eagle requires putting one's name on a wait list to get on the mailing list, then biding one's time for five or six years before a single bottle becomes available.
The good news is that there are Napa Cabernets that offer all the complexity and depth of the so-called "cult" Cabernets but don't require an extensive hunt or endless wait. Call them sleeper Cabernets. These are wines that, for one reason or anotherthe owners simply don't care about hype, for instance, or the vineyards are in an underrated subappellationhave never been anointed the next must-have reds, even though what's inside the bottles is terrific. Here are five of the best.
- Napa Cabernet Now: A State-of-the-Grape Lunch at Beringer
- 30 Classic, New & Value Cabernets
- Great Values from Napa Valley
- Napa and Sonoma's Best Winery Tours
2003 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon ($40)
Stuart and Charles Smith farm a small, steep parcel in Napa Valley's Spring Mountain, producing one of Napa's best sleeper Cabernets. (They also make one of the best Rieslings in America.) A touch of Cabernet Franc gives this silky red a floral, spicy scent.