In the past 50 years, Napa Valley has proven itself to be one of the world’s finest sources of cabernet sauvignon. The best can command sky-high prices and it’s now rare to find examples selling for less than $40 per bottle.
The world’s high-price tolerance for cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley is steadily crowding other grapes in the California region, particularly those that produce white wines, like chardonnay. This is a shame, since the chardonnay grape thrives in Napa, particularly in the southern reaches, which are cooled by their proximity to the tidal estuary of San Pablo Bay.
Indeed, in southern sub-appellations like Carneros, chardonnay consistently outperforms cabernet sauvignon, which struggles to ripen properly in chilly, foggy conditions. But it is precisely these conditions that allow the region to make compelling, balanced white wines, like this beauty from one of Northern California’s most historic family-owned estates.
The morning breezes and maritime mists found in this low-lying corner of Napa Valley preserve the citrusy zing of freshness found in this wine, even as the sunny afternoons that follow push its alcohol content well above 14%. The result is a duality that delivers the best of both worlds, as if the winemaker had fused the snap and tang of a Granny Smith apple with the deeper flavor and tactile richness of a spiced apple cake.
On sale for $16.99 through Feb. 2 (regularly $19.99); PLCB Item #2256