The summer is nearing its end and the renowned sommelier Erik Johnson has decided to mark the end of the season with his favourite picks at this year’s most note-worthy Napa cabernets for the wine cellar of the French Laundry in Napa Valley as part of the restaurant’s extensive renovation (due to be completed this fall). Over 1,000 wines were added to a list that he subsequently dwindled to roughly 1,500 and deepened the focus on the sun-soaked Napa Valley. His most exciting discoveries include:
1. Larkmead Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Olmo
Retailing at $175 per bottle, the Larkmead Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Olmo is named after Dr. Harold P. Olmo and will be out for consumer use in October. It is an intense wine, courtesy of the gravel soil and the special blend of older vines (15+ years) with a classic, fresh style, elevated aroma profile and medium body with great structure.
2. Tusk Estates 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
Tusk Estates 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is due in September and will be sold for $450 per bottle of “one of the prettiest, silkiest, most amazing Cabernets,”. Fresh and juice, it blends in a charismatic way that is precise and intense while retaining its delicacy.
3. Realm Cellars 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard
The Realm Cellars 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard is quickly selling out despite its staggering price of $460. Its emblematic “elegant, floral” flavour blends perfectly with its minerality, complexity, excellent fruit definition, and good tannin structure.
4. Mayacamas Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder
The first release from the historic vinery since it was purchased by Charles Banks is the delectable Mayacamas Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder, estimated at $125, which will debut in the fall of 2017. It is an old-world style wine with crisp acidity and little oak.