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Splurge worthy, gift worthy and holiday worthy wines from Napa!

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Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa Valley, California ($79.95)

Michael Godel – A Bordeaux blend of all five varieties extracted from more than 20 Napa Valley Vineyards, this is classically shaped Napa fashioned by winemaker Ted Edwards. Plush and lush, luxe et volupté, swelling with all the red and purple berries one can imagine packed into one red wine. Handles its French and American oak with elegance and distinction. 92 points

Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 2015, Napa Valley ($78.95)

David Lawrason – With a French heritage this fine estate on the Silverado Trail always releases its wines a bit later on. It has a fine and generous and finely meshed nose of blackcurrant, mint, tea, tobacco and violet. It is full bodied, fairly dense, firm and tense. Quite gritty. The length is excellent to outstanding. Even at five years not ready for prime time. 95 points

Jayson Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Napa Valley ($65)

David Lawrason – This is a very ripe, very smooth, cabernet with soft almost creamy nose of cassis, vanillin and nutmeg. It is very full bodied, soft, dense and smooth – actually lacking some tension. The tannins are very fine but dusty and dry. The length is excellent. 92 points

Stags’ Leap Petite Sirah 2017, Napa Valley ($59.95)

David Lawrason – This is a deeply coloured almost opaque red with a very ripe if not intense nose blackberry/blueberry fruit, violet, fine scented juniper herbality and vanillin. It is full bodied to the nth degree, yet restrained and very well balanced, with a crusty drying tannin. All kinds of rich boysenberry fruit on the palate, some sense of inky minerality. The length is excellent. 94 points

Groth Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Oakville, Napa Valley ($121.95)

John Szabo, MS – A rather refined vintage for Groth’s classic Oakville estate cabernet, heading towards, but not quite yet at prime drinking. Expect the typical dark fruit of cabernet from the valley, but on a lighter, more finessed frame; acids are lively and there’s an irresistible succulence and sapidity here that drives additional sips. Another 3-5 years in the cellar will surely increase the savoury side, though tannins are so supple and refined now that it will be tough to resist drinking it earlier. I appreciate the elegance and sophistication on offer, a multi-dimensional experience rather than blunt force instrument. 94 points

Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Napa Valley ($100)

Michael Godel – From Hall based in St. Helena this is classically correct and precise cabernet sauvignon in a banner year for concentration. The wood is big, heavy and daunting but both fruit and structure, with a little help from acidity are there to wrangle the engagement. That fruit and those barrels are thick as thieves, wound together and rolling on down the line. 93 points

Cakebread Cellars Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Napa Valley ($222.95)

David Lawrason – This is a very elegant, sophisticated cabernet. Is it possible to make cabernet that is more refined? If that’s what you want from this often rough and tumble grape. Yet it is still cabernet with a lifted nose of cassis, fresh herbs, cedar, fine mocha and violet. A beauty. It is medium-full bodied, supple yet structured and very smooth, with fine tannin. The length is excellent to outstanding. 97 points

Taub Family Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges Iii Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Napa Valley ($235)

Michael Godel – From proprietor Marc Taub who’s family has been prominently part of the Napa Valley wine fabric since prohibition and who in 2013 acquired Napa Valley producer Heritance, later evolving into Taub Family Vineyards. His winemaker is Tom Hinde, a Sonoma and Napa specialist who cut his teeth for seven years at Flowers, but also at Kendall-Jackson, Hartford, La Crema, Lakoya, Cardinale, Stonestreet and Verite. Add in a mere three acres within the historic 300-acre Beckstoffer Vineyard first purchased by Beaulieu founder Georges de Latour in 1928, called Beaulieu Vineyard Number 3 and made by winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff. The 2017 Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon are a very special lot. That much we know. Add in the pedigree, torch passing and respect for these necessary tenets of wine-producing business and well, hello. Utmost attention to detail, optimum extraction and concentration, sultry, supple and ultimately divine. There is this fine, fine, almost indescribable salty vein that cuts through the fruit and the fat like perfect umami seasoning in the most decadent dish. With meat or seafood, California or Japan, take your pick. Drink this either way. 97 points

Girard Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Napa Valley ($120)

David Lawrason – Atlas Peak is an elevation in the south-eastern Napa Valley, a cooler site overlooking San Pablo Bay. This lovely wine has the lifted cassis, savoury and floral notes I love about great cabernet with background oak, some resin and spice. It is full bodied, fairly dense and firm with a sense of minerality and composure. Still a bit young and tannic but all kinds of ageing potential here. The length is excellent to outstanding. 95 points

Gallica Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, St. Helena, Napa Valley ($260)

John Szabo, MS – Rosemary Cakebread’s outfit, Gallica in St. Helena has produced exceptional wine from the start, and this 2016 is no exception. I love the fresh and open-knit perfume, the dark florals, the black fruit and cassis, the well-integrated wood, and above all, the overall poise and balance, neither under nor overripe. Texture on the palate is supple and smooth, but not overly soft, with sufficient tannins providing framework and support, even if the general impression is one of refinement and delicacy rather than sheer brunt force and power. The finish lingers on and on. Really top notch Napa cabernet, far more refined than the mean. Drink or hold into the ’30s. 96 points

Tuck Beckstoffer Amulet Proprietary Red 2016, Napa Valley ($240)

David Lawrason – Tuck Beckstoffer is the son of one the pioneering Napa Valley viticulturalists who planted near St. Helena in 1975, his fruit becoming the most sought-after in California. Amulet is from three sites in Napa. I love the lifted, classic, cassis fruit and mint – cabernet’s signature. It is a full bodied, dense and powerful wine but not without poise as well, thanks to good acidity and firm tannin. The core of fruit is really impressive here, the star of the show. The length is excellent to outstanding. 96 points

Revana Terroir Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Napa Valley ($145.95)

Michael Godel – Revana Family Vineyards is owned by Dr. Madaiah Revana, with Thomas Rivers Brown (of Schrader Wines) as winemaker and Jim Barbour Vineyard Manager. Eight acres planted in 1998, first vintage 2001. A geological site in St. Helena of alluvial flow off of the Mayacamas range. A darkest of black fruit vintage with more underlay of chalky structure than seemingly ever while the complexities of Mediterranean olive and brush wait patiently in the wings. A Cassis bomb with tannins holding court over every sip, every swirl and swallow. A cabernet sauvignon that will show its true love at ten, then slowly devolve for (at least) ten more after that. All this despite a challenging vintage where dark fruit was not a given and fires raged all around after the fruit was brought in. 95 points

Silverado Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Napa Valley ($180)

David Lawrason – This has a fairly soft, pretty nose of ripe black cherry, cassis, vanillin, fresh herbs and nutmeg spice. Some mint and fresh herbs comes out on the palate. It is full bodied, soft and rounded, with drenching fruit nicely covering the alcohol and tannin, although that is still plainly evident, and suggests more ageing time is needed. The length is excellent. Best 2023 to 2030. 93 points