Decades ago, I drank a 1975 Spring Mountain Reserve red from Cuvaison Winery. It was my very first “ah-ha” memorable experience with mountain-grown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Skip ahead 38 years (gulp) to find Cuvaison the proud owners of Brandlin Estate, whose Mount Veeder fruit is harvested just a short skip south of Spring Mountain. Brandlin is known for expressive, complex Cabs, and it pleases me that the daughter of dear friends of ours is now part of Brandlin’s PR concerns. (The generations flow onward, and the love of wine flourishes!) I especially admire Brandlin for releasing their wines rather late, therefore allowing the wine to be far more enjoyable for the consumer without a cellar. The 2013 vintage is reviewed here, and the 2014 has just begun to be released. This is a magical wine to enjoy any time of year, because great Cab knows no season. Thanks, Miriam!
2013 Brandlin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley $75 srp*
Opaque, saturated purple in color. A brooding, smoky bouquet greets you, chock-full of black currant, blackberry, black coffee, freshly turned earth and menthol elements. This extroverted red also shows olive, cedar, leather and tobacco notes with further aeration. A luxurious mouthfeel gives chocolate-covered black cherry, plum and an overall “meaty” texture. The spicy fruit is balanced and muscular yet finishes with silky tannins that gently reign it in. Drink now with grilled meats, a Portobello mushroom rice dish or an aged Gouda or Cheddar platter. (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec) Please decant now, and can be drunk though 2028.
*Limited release. Can be found for less with a bit of research.