Premiere Napa Valley Wine Week kicks off in person and virtually


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The holidays arrived early this year for wine lovers, as Napa Valley’s first Wine Week kicked off earlier this week on November 8, giving collectors and professionals the chance to immerse themselves in the wine country the most famous in the country. Throughout the week, virtual chats and interviews with winemakers and other industry figures, as well as tastings and in-person events, spread across six states across the country, in some 20 different locations , will present what makes this region and its wines so special.

There is also the rare opportunity to acquire some of the most coveted small-production wines in the world. Each year, the first Napa Valley wine auction – the most recent held last February – showcases the best of Napa, with wines that often change paradigm and produced in batches ranging from 60 bottles to 240 bottles. maximum. The auctions are held annually at an invitation-only event and limited to members of commerce, media and retailers.

But yesterday an incredible selection of these highly sought after wines became available through the Napa Valley’s Premier Build Your Collection Online Marketplace, and vintages going back 26 years are available for purchase. I recently had the opportunity to taste a large selection of 2019 and came away from the experience more than impressed: these are wines that express both the character of the land on which they are grown and the vision. of the producer behind them. They too, due to their tiny production nature, shine with a real sense of creativity, idiosyncrasy, and joy. Below are 15 of my favorites, listed alphabetically, although any of the examples I was lucky enough to sample could have been on this list. (I’ll write about many more in a future article.)

Accendo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Napa Valley

Lot 1, 60 bottles produced

Toasted oak, cocoa powder and assertive tea-like tannins frame blueberries, tar, lavender, candied violets, scorched earth, cherry pits and black plums. Notes of licorice root, cinnamon stick, toasted cumin and sunburnt garrigue slip into the finish. It continues to strengthen on the palate, with hints of toasted cumin and tar. Hold until 2025, then drink for the next three decades or more.

Alpha Omega DTT Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Napa Valley

Lot 2, 60 bottles produced

Drops of purple fruit roll over the palate in concentrated and tantalizing waves carrying plums, chocolate ganache filled with kirsch, black currant, blood oranges and Chinese five-spice powder. Big, balanced and long. Drink 2024 – 2049+.

Bell Wine Cellars Clone 7 Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Napa Valley

Lot 12, 60 bottles produced

Lots of cedar and spice coming from high quality oak here, but it works great, not forming a layering but rather a beautifully lifted and aromatic core. These translate into a dense but balanced palate of purple and black plums, pink peppercorns, toffee, orange oils and a touch of licorice and hot tar. The crushed blueberries also resonate on the finish. Drink now and for the next 25 years. It’s generous and structured at the same time.

Faust The Pact Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Coombsville

Lot 38, 60 bottles produced

A wave of vanilla, caramel, toasted coconut and plum continues to an energetic palate, which shines with plums and plum kernels, currants, lavender and flavorful minerality. It’s excellent right now and promises to evolve in particularly fascinating ways over the next 20 years.

Freemark Abbey The Tribute Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Napa Valley

Lot 45, 60 bottles produced

This is so well structured, with a deep thorn of slate and granite-like minerality providing a framework for flavors of cherry pits, cocoa beans, coffee grounds, woody spices, sappy gooseberries and red currants. ‘star anise. Really attractive now, and with two more decades to go if you like. Excellent definition, with an almost salty character on the finish.

Grgich Hills Estate Paradise Block Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Yountville

Lot 50, 120 bottles produced

There are details so well defined in this wine, a mineral scaffolding with notes of red cherries, raspberries, mixed mountain berries and blood orange that are beautifully sprinkled with cedar and a touch of balsamic herbs until ‘with a long, mouth-watering finish. Excellent concentration and length. Drink now – 2041+.

Hall Sacrashe Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Napa Valley

Lot 52, 60 bottles produced

There is an almost rock minerality to the nose here, a flame charred meat aroma juxtaposed with blackberries, cedar and tobacco. These make up a palate of sweet fruit dripping with dark cherries and purple plums dipped in chocolate ganache, sweet charred vanilla, dried thyme, and a distinct hint of cortado coffee. Best from 2024 to 2044+.

Matthiasson Phoenix Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley

Lot 72, 60 bottles produced

Rich aromas reminiscent of mocha coffee and oak spices, this wine is creamy and generous on the palate, with a pot of plum-chocolate cream, black raspberries, a touch of star anise and a long, sappy finish framed by tannins. well integrated, even at this stage, it promises a long cellar life. Still, it’s hard to resist right now with its relatively open character, generous fruit and sweet spices. Enjoy until 2036 and beyond.

Memento Mori Tribus Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Napa Valley

Lot 73, 60 bottles produced

It absolutely sparkles as soon as you put your nose in the glass – kirsch, cassis, melted black licorice, espresso grounds – before a deliciously explosive palate of balance and power. Plums, fig jam, rhubarb compote and brandy cherries coated in ganache are spiced up with flowers and a touch of crushed black pepper before a cheerful finish reminiscent of the perfectly charred top of a crème brûlée à la vanilla. Drink now or keep until the early 2040s.

PlumpJack Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Oakville

Lot 93, 60 bottles produced

Rich and dense, yet slyly spicy, with aromas of flowery blackberries, black raspberries, scorched earth, toasted rosemary and balsamic notes hovering above it all. These set the stage for a palate of drama and maturity, the decidedly silky texture carrying beautifully polished flavors of dried wild strawberries, rhubarb compote, chamomile, oolong tea, and mixed currants and cherries. Sleek and energetic. Drink it over the next 15+ years.

Round Pond Estate SVS Gravel Series Blend Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Rutherford

Lot 103, 60 bottles produced

Seductive aromas of hoisin sauce and Chinese five-spice powder are complicated by black licorice and German chocolate cake before a palate of sweet and sappy fruit, Amarena cherries, purple plums, crushed black peppercorns, carob, toasted oak, whole cloves and rocky minerality. It’s powerful and dense, but with great detail too. Drink 2022 – 2042.

St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery Andrew Jackson Dollarhyde Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Napa Valley

Lot 115, 120 bottles produced

The aromas of blackberry crème pâtissière are decadent, chewy and so intensely appealing, before a sachertorte palate with a seam of raspberry jam under the outer layer of dark chocolate. With air, flavors reminiscent of walnut skin seep in, lending a seriously savory character to the notes of Viennese coffee and blood orange which are beautifully anchored by a deep core of minerality. Decant to enjoy now, but it will really show its depth of cherry pipe tobacco, sandalwood and incense with another 8 to 10 years of cellar rest.

Tate Nolan’s Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Napa Valley

Lot 120, 60 bottles produced

Pure, powerful and layered, this wine unfolds in petals of candied violets, wild strawberries, Rolo candies, sachertorte, red currants and mixed mountain berries, with notes of cigar tobacco and cedar. The sappy tannins are ripe, balanced and propulsive, and carry this remarkable wine, which manages to highlight both density and energy. It’s already great, and promises to evolve easily for another two decades.

The Hess Collection Winery Ridge 4 Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Mount Veeder

Lot 126, 60 bottles produced

The mountain tannins of the textbooks run through it with energy and a deep sense of potential longevity, and carry flavors of smoky tea, forest soil, blueberries, venison and crushed peppercorns, as well as a brine sensation. and salted caramel on the finish. Crunchy tannins are enhanced with pencil shavings and green olive pits throughout the long finish. To decant now or to place until the beginning of the 2050s.

Trefethen Family Vineyards Sleeper Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley

Lot 132, 60 bottles produced

Dark and deep, with a clear aroma of dried Sicilian black olives informing of cassis and plum stones, before a palate of brown sugar caramel, cinnamon stick, allspice, blackberries, mocha coffee and dehydrated blood oranges. On the edges is a note of candied violet, giving it a noticeable sense of elegance and lift. It sounds fantastic right now, with another 15 to 20 years of evolution to come.

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About Michael Brafford

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