July 5, 2017

Benchmark Napa

PlumpJack 2014 ‘Estate’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville
Retail:  $215.95 / btl  (12 btl/cs)

Cade 2014 ‘Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain
Retail:  $358.95 / btl  (6 btl/cs - in wood, 3 cork & 3 screwcap)


PlumpJack Winery, Oakville, Napa

PlumpJack, located at the historic site of the original Villa Mt. Eden winery (1881) on Napa’s Oakville Cross Road, produced their first vintage in 1995. The 42 acre vineyard borders Groth, O’Shaughnessy, Rudd, and Bond-St. Eden. It’s within spitting distance of Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Phelps-Backus, Peter Michael-Au Paradis, Silver Oak, Opus One, To-Kalon and Harlan – so maybe the most prestigious appellation within Napa. Winemaker Aaron Miller crafts wines that express the special terroir of Oakville, achieving a style that is opulent but never 'heavy'. Prior to joining PlumpJack, Aaron worked with Michael Weis at Groth. PlumpJack is owned by John Conover, Gordon Getty (yes that Getty) and Gavin Newsom (now California's Lt. Governor). The facility is one of California’s oldest operating wineries.


Cade Winery, Howell Mountain

Cade was created in 2005 by the PlumpJack partners, with with 54 acres of vineyard and a new winery built to the strictest environmental standards. Cade is both a certified organic vineyard and LEED Gold certified winery, located above the fog line at 1800 feet on Howell Mountain. It is truly one of the most beautiful and dramatic estates in Napa. Winemaker Daniele Cyrot crafts complex, mountain-grown Cabernet that respects the powerful character of Howell Mountain fruit while maintaining a delicate balance of acidity and subtle oak – call it a feminine touch.



PlumpJack 2014 ‘Estate’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville

95 Points – Rober M. Parker, Jr., RobertParker.com
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, which is a blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot, is a beauty. Bigger-boned and framed than many 2014s, with more structure, this is classic Oakville material, with an opaque purple color and a big, sweet kiss of graphite, blackcurrants, Christmas fruitcake and spice box. Full-bodied and opulent, with moderate tannin, this is a gorgeous wine to drink now and over the next 20 or more years.
This famed estate on the Oakville crossroads, which was once the Villa Mt. Eden winery, where Nils Venge made a succession of profound wines in the 1970s, is now owned by the Getty family and called Plumpjack. These are always among my favorite wines in Napa Valley, as they are consistently well-crafted and represent the best of the Oakville corridor."


94 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is another super-appealing wine. Dark cherry, plum, mocha, spice, new leather and licorice wrap around the palate. Succulent, layered and juicy, the 2014 captures all of the appeal of this Oakville site, albeit in the more restrained style that is typical of the year.
Aaron Miller has done a terrific job in coaxing the best out of the 2014 and 2015 vintages. The 2014s are every bit as impressive as they were from barrel, with notable aromatic presence and nuance. A much more flamboyant style emerges from the 2015s, wines that capture all of the opulence of the year. As always, the Merlot and Syrah are made from purchased fruit, while the two Cabernets are both estate wines. The flagship Reserve typically emerges from the front blocks on the estate closest to the Silverado Trail."


Cade 2014 ‘Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain

95 Points – Rober M. Parker, Jr., Robert Parker.com
"The  2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon (and finished with a screwcap), cuts a broader swath even than the regular bottling, shows sightly sweeter tannin, perhaps more ripeness, but is plush, voluptuously textured, deep, full-bodied and impressively endowed. There is no reason to defer gratification, as this wine is already singing and expressive. Drink it over the next 15 or so years."

91-94 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is bright and aromatically lifted, but it also has tons of depth and fruit voluptuousness. This is another fairly open-knit, opulent Howell Mountain Cabernet that emphasizes accessibility over structure. The Reserve has more richness, intensity and concentration than the Estate, but it is pretty similar in style."