With the holidays come lists of wines to recommend as gifts. I think that most any red wine lover would welcome a first-rate California Cabernet Sauvignon, or a blend featuring Cabernet as its main component. So here, without too much ado, is a compendium of the best I’ve tasted this year from Napa and Sonoma Counties – and one from the Santa Cruz Mountains. A wide array of prices, naturally, but all of these are memorable and special. No disappointments here!
2014 St. Francis, Sonoma County $22 suggested retail price
Accessible with cherry, plum and vanilla smiles.
2014 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve $26
Always interesting, this is focused, ripe, vibrant and luscious.
2014 Sequoia Grove, Napa Valley $40
Bordeaux-like. Rugged, dense, stick-to-your-gums extracted.
2013 B.R. Cohn, Gold Label $43*
Subtlety, rose petals, deeply fruited and stylish.
2014 Robert Mondavi “Maestro” $50
Impressive – solid, like a fortress. Impeccable balance.
2013 Chateau St. Jean “Les Cinq Cépages $75
Dramatic – black cherry, licorice, plum exuberance. Age-worthy.
2014 Beringer Private Reserve, Napa Valley $140
Always impressive, caressing and long. One of the best vintages ever.
2012 Elivette, Spring Mountain Vineyard $140*
A pure middle-weight, silky, rich, exquisitely balanced. A keeper.
2014 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello $160
Profoundly dark, brooding, monumentally rich. Classic.
*very limited availability