California’s Napa Valley is arguably the best region for cabernet sauvignon, blends of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, varietal merlots, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, botrytised wines, and even sparkling wines.
The valley is approximately 50 kms. long from south to north. The southern sub-appellation Carneros bordering the San Pablo Bay is cooler than the northern part; the difference on some days is as much as 10 C.
The valley has 16 sub-appellations that cover approximately 20,000 hectares tended by a little more than 1000 growers.
Some make their wines, others sell to wineries. There are more than 800 wineries, many of which are family operations producing 35 – 50,000 cases.
Napa Valley vintners (napavintners.ca) visit Toronto every two years to pour their wines to an eager public.
Ontario is one of the bigger export markets for Napa Vintners.
This year’s tasting started with a seminar with red wines from a number of vintages.
Trade representatives and wine writers were treated to a comparative tasting of cabernet sauvignon wines from consecutive vintages from 2003 to 2010. The differences between vintages were discussed and debated.
To may palate, younger vintages tasted more vibrant, well extracted, and intense.
Then several wineries poured their wines. There were more than 100 wines to taste, but I only managed close to 80 within the time allocated.
The following stood out:
Chardonnay, 2011, Black Stallion 90/100
Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, 2011, Shafer 92/100
Chardonnay, 2010, Staglin 90/100
Chardonnay Hope’s Cuvee, 2011, Signorello 92/100
Chardonnay, 2012, Hill Estate 93/100
Fume Blanc, 2010, M Grgich 94/100
Fume Blanc, 2011, Robert Mondavi 91/100
Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, Spring Mountain 92/100
Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, Silver Oak 91/100
Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, Priest Run 90/100
Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, Log Meadow 91/100
Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, Cuvaison 91/100
Brut, Schramsberg 93/100
Quantums, 2010, Beringer, 92/100
Cabernet Sauvingon, 2009, Beringer, 93é100
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, Peju, 92é100
Fuse, 2010, Signorello, 92é100
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, Signorello, 92é100
Cabernet Sauvignon, La Jota, 91é100
Bloc Cuvee, 2009, Hess Collection, 92é100
Pinot Noir, 2011, Cuvaison, 93é100
La Petit Syrah, 2010, Coquerele, 92é100
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Merlot, 2010, Cakebread, 92é100
Merlot, 2010, Shafer, 93é100
Cabernet Sauvignon 1.5, Shafer, 93é100
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, M. Grgich, 95é100
Merlot, 2009, Silverado, 91é100
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008, Silver Oak, 93é100
SLV Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, Stag`s Leap, 93é100
Fay cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, Stag`s Leap, 92é100
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, Somerstone, 93é100
Merlot, 2011, Napa Cellars, 91é100
Zinfandel, 2011, Napa Cellars, 91é100
Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Cellars, 93é100
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, R. Mondavi, 92é100
Cabernet Sauvingon, 2007, Heitz Cellars, 93é100
Merlot, 2010, Hall, 92é100
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, Hall, 91é100
Red Blend, 2008, Cain, 93é100
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009, Long Meadow Ranch, 92é100
Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Selects, 2003, Shafer, 94é100
Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Selects, 2009, Shafer, 96é100