California Cabernets for Your Cellar

Bold, rich Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of California reds and naturally perfect for aging. Here are ten Cab Sauvs ready for your cellar.
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The Gold Coast is known for producing elegant Cabernet Sauvignon and the grape’s aging potential makes it ideal for collecting. Whether you’re restocking an impressive wine catalogue or hoping to start a new one, here are ten age-worthy reds from Napa Valley, Sonoma and the Central Coast that’ll be ready to drink later rather than sooner.

Spottswoode 2014 Family Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon (St. Helena); $190, 98 points. Nuanced, with 10% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, this is a quietly powerful wine, smooth and structured and immediate in its beauty, yet possessed of legs to cellar for 20-plus years. Crushed flowers and rocks open on the nose, providing a clutch of minerality, as grippy tannins support red currant, plum and a freshness of persistent acidity. Try to wait on this one. Best 2024 through 2034. Cellar Selection.—Virginie Boone

Alpha Omega 2013 Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville); $225, 98 points. Luxurious in brick, clove and a wealth of black-cherry pie, this is a beautiful succulent wine from the well-farmed site, silky in texture and integrated seamlessly with desirable oak. Saddle leather and black pepper dot the midpalate as a tangle of acidity weaves through, adding freshness and vibrancy. Cellar through 2033. Cellar Selection.—V.B.

Shafer 2013 Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon (Stags Leap District); $285, 98 points. Among the Napa Valley’s most crowning achievements in Cabernet, this vintage of Hillside Select is stunning, bright and beguiling in every way. Intensely layered, its interwoven flavors burst in black licorice, dark chocolate, pipe tobacco, gun smoke and garrigue. Spicy oak adds to the power and weight. Drinkable now, it will show even greater finesse in time; enjoy best 2023–2033 and possibly beyond. Cellar Selection.—V.B.

Hall 2014 Rainin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Diamond Mountain District); $325, 98 points. From the iconic site atop the mighty mountain appellation, Rainin is exotic in forest, soy and sage notes, with a powerful and densely layered tannin structure. Black pepper, plum and leather are made all the more complex by a tease of rocky ash that gives the wine a distinct mineral character and earthiness. This is one for cellaring. Enjoy 2024–2034. Cellar Selection.—V.B.

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Calluna 2014 The Colonel’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Chalk Hill); $70, 96 points. This is from a small block of the proprietor’s vineyard and made entirely from one variety. It’s gorgeous and perfumed, grippy and hugely structured, with a bright exuberantly complex midpalate of intriguing plum and peppery clove. Gentle and balanced, it’s enjoyable now, but will also age. Enjoy best 2024 through 2034. Cellar Selection.—V.B.

J. Lohr 2014 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles); $100, 96 points. The second vintage release of J. Lohr’s Signature wine, first produced to commemorate founder Jerry Lohr’s 80th birthday. Rich aromas of stewed black plum, blackberry pie, vanilla, clove and prune cake show on the nose. The mouthfeel is rich overall, but with firm tannins in the background that lend structure to the strawberry and blackberry flavors, graced by hints of wood smoke, peppercorn and licorice. Drink now–2029. Cellar Selection.—Matt Kettmann

Heritance 2013 Beckstoffer Georges III Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford); $125, 96 points. This outstanding effort from the famous site is truly inviting on the nose, with a prominent rose aroma. The smooth palate boasts power and grace, with a deft mix of black cherry coulis and cassis flavors tamed by dusty tannins. Hints of tobacco and dark chocolate carry through to the finish. Enjoy best 2023–2033. Cellar Selection.—V.B.

Patrimony 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (Adelaida District); $275, 96 points. Deep, dark and still very tightly wound three years after harvest, this second vintage of the Daou brothers’ top-tier effort continues their march toward phenolic perfection. Aromas of black currant, elderberry jam, crushed black rocks, loamy soil and light purple flowers lead into a plush palate that’s very dry, extremely textural and well balanced. Flavors of black plum, dark berries and dark chocolate ride sticky tannins that will smooth with patience. Drink 2019–2034. Cellar Selection.—M.K.

Gainey 2014 Patrick’s Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Ynez Valley); $75, 95 points. A focused nose of plump red fruit and baking spice start off this special selection Cabernet, which includes 10% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot. The palate is zesty in notes of thyme, oregano, blackberry, tobacco and cedar. Over time, it expands broadly and deliciously on the palate. Drink 2020–2034. Cellar Selection.—M.K.

Anderson Conn Valley 2015 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $195, 95 points. With less than 6% Petit Verdot, this epic wine is made from the producer’s best barrels and is seductive in wild vanilla, red currant and plum. Expansive and succulent on the palate, the oak is well-integrated and supportive, imparting complex notes of cigar box and clove on the lengthy, spicy finish. Enjoy best 2025–2035. Cellar Selection.—V.B.

Published on April 20, 2018
Topics: Wine and Ratings



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