Over the past few months a number of readers have asked what wines I consider to be outstanding and worth investing in. Though the answer can be very subjective, I was more than willing to oblige. In fact, it didn’t take long to put together a very short but impressive list of what I consider to be spectacular wines. These wines are by no means inexpensive yet they represent the best of California’s famed Napa Valley, a region well known for producing world class wine. Wines such as these are often sought after by wine aficionados as part of their collections.
From the start there was no doubt that Cabernet Sauvignon would top the list. I’ve always had a fondness for this varietal so it was a natural choice. Cabernet is a wine that offers abundant flavor, depth and character. What’s more, it’s a wine that has great aging potential, especially those from top producers. Therefore, without hesitation I immediately noted three California Cabernet wines that have always impressed me.
Shafer Vineyards is a family-owned winery that has been turning out magnificent wines for over 40 years, and their 2016 Shafer “Hillside Select” Cabernet is top shelf. This gorgeous wine has a deep saturated purple color and is bursting with aromas of blackberry, cassis, chocolate and spice. On the palate, lush fruit including juicy red plum, raspberry along with hints of oak are most noticeable. One taste of this wine and you will understand why critics and wine lovers alike consider “Hillside Select” to be one of the world’s great Cabernet Sauvignons. With proper storage this wine can be cellared for up to 20 years. At a SRP of $325, it remains a sound investment.
Another wine that I consider outstanding is also from a family-owned winery. The Caymus 2016 “Special Selection” is just over the top with notes of mocha and oak. On the palate, lush, ripe fruit flavors and perfect balance are in play, creating a wine that is abundantly rich in taste and character. The finish is incredibly long lasting as it coats the palate. Chuck Wagner and his family have a long track record for producing wonderful wines and this, their flagship wine, is the culmination of those efforts. SRP $175
From there I chose the newly released Spottswoode 2017 “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon. Since 1982 the Milliken family has been bottling outstanding Cabernet and this one is just another example of their skill at wine making. Made of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2017 “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon is deep purple in color with blackberries, dark cherries and cassis. Medium to full bodied, this wine is beautifully balanced with black and red fruit flavors along with a firm, fine-grained texture, and a long, spicy finish. SRP $225
Each of these selections represents the pinnacle of fine wine making — precise in terms of taste, texture and character. Like great works of art, these wines bring a level of abundant pleasure that is unparalleled. And while the investment is somewhat substantial, the return is nothing less than a very rewarding experience. Cheers.
Wine of the week: Allegrini,2017 Palazzo Della Torre, Italy. Ruby red in color with hints of raisins, vanilla, black pepper and cloves. Smooth and flavorful with a velvety finish and soft tannins. Pairs with various pasta dishes, assorted hard cheese and veal. $14