Napa Valley has famously become a happy home of Cabernet Sauvignon, arguably wine’s most fascinating grape. The best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a big, classic expression of distinctive terroir and abundant sunshine. Yet, these wines also do an impressive job of retaining the quality that makes Cabernet special, no matter where it’s grown.
Cabernet Sauvignon lets nature in; the impression of the vineyard remains in the resulting wine for years to come. Let’s take a closer look at how this happens.
How Cabernet expresses terroir
Place makes all the difference when it comes to Cabernet. The changing weather from year to year creates subtle nuances in the wine. But other distinctions leave their impression too: the presence of fog, elevation, sun exposure, proximity to water, and soil type all make their unique mark on Cabernet.
For example, the grapes from our Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon are grown in the sweet spot of Napa Valley. The vineyard here enjoys just the right weather and soils that the grapes need to ripen fully.
Even the smallest changes in elevation will impact Cabernet. Grapes that ripen on the valley floor will be broad and lush and will become more restrained and crisp with each rising degree in altitude.
Cabernet and flavor complexity
Cabernet Sauvignon is high in phenolics, compounds found primarily on the skins that give red wine its color, tannins, and flavor compounds. High concentrations of phenolics mean that Cabernet can be fermented for longer periods, allowing for these compounds to be deeply extracted.
Phenolics develop as the grapes are exposed to sunlight, which is why locations with ample sunshine, like our Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, can develop complexity.
Cabernet often retains rich, dark fruit aromas like black currant, black cherry, plum, and boysenberry. It can also develop savory notes like spice, cigar box, clove, and earth. With oak aging, Cab will express mocha, coffee, and toasted spice.
Cabernet has longevity
Phenolics act as a preservative, allowing Cabernet to remain fresh for decades. But high tannins, acidity, and ripe fruit also assist in preserving the wine through time. This makes Cabernet Sauvignon one of the most age-worthy wines you’ll find.
As Cabernet ages, interactions between the phenolics, structure, alcohol, and oxygen will change the wine significantly. Aromas become subtler, the wine leans toward elegance while retaining a quiet power, and entirely new aromas appear.
The Best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting single vineyard wines is the best way to experience how Cabernet can take on the nuances of the vineyard. We make bold, classic wines from different plots that are uniquely distinctive and true to what a Napa Valley Cabernet can do.
Shop our single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon bottles here.