Ray Isle: Napa Cabernets Tasting

F&W Senior Wine Editor Ray Isle reviews "young and tough" Napa Cabernets, from Beringer's 2002 Spring Mountain to Schafer's 1999 Hillside Select.

F&W Senior Wine Editor Ray Isle reviews "young and tough" Napa Cabernets, from Beringer's 2002 Spring Mountain to Schafer's 1999 Hillside Select.

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[MUSIC] These are young, tough Cabernets. This is kind of in a way it's a tough tasting, because You know, these are really young wines and they've got years to go. On the other hand, there are Napa wines in Napa, even in the mountain regions, is kind of lush and has that voluptuousness that comes through underneath. And we're going to Spring Mountain now. Beringer's Marsden Vineyard Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Particularly, 2002 is a very warm year with a lot of lush To it, and you're gonna find that in this wine. And it's interesting because Marston Vineyard tends to produce extremely tannic, tough wines. And I think 2002 did a great balancing act with that toughness. You're tasting some of that in the Spring Mountain, cuz you're tasting a lot of black cherry in Spring Mountain. But this is a very ripe black cherry. This doesn't go as far as to be a kind of cherry jam or cured cherry preserves. But it definitely shows that ripeness. And I think also typically in Spring Mountain, in a less warm year than 2002, those tannins would be, you would perceive them much quicker. And that it wouldn't come in the finish, so much as come in straight up the middle. I've got this ringer wine here, that I threw in. And I wanted people to taste it because I was curious to think, or to know whether people thought it was a mountain Cabernet, or not. It's 1999 Schaeffer Hillside Select, which Doug Schaeffer was kind enough to supply for this tasting. It's not a mountain ADA. it's in [INAUDIBLE]. However, it's [INAUDIBLE] in the area in the hillside, select vineyard is at about 400 feet, which is Which is just where mountain Appalachians begin. If you talk to Bill Schaffer he'll tell you that it is de facto mountain wine because it's on a steep slope, it's very shallow soils, no water retention, the vines struggle, and it's got sort of mountain exposure. At the same time it's not technically a mountain wine. It is extremely good Napa Valley Cabernet. And in auction it will cost you about $400 these days. [LAUGH] So yeah, if you were spending you can stop spending now. [LAUGH] The truth is that, you know, Mountain Appalachians do have distinction, they do kind of in part of Distinctive structure and character to the wine. But at the same time, the individual vineyard, the individual winemaker, the conditions of the year, play an enormous role in defining what the wine is gonna taste like. So you can get a wine like DeSchafer that seen through one lens, you could consider a [UNKNOWN], you see it through another lens you could consider it not. [MUSIC]
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Ray Isle: Napa Cabernets Tasting


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