Cuvaison Estate Wines
January 13, 2016 | Cuvaison Estate Wines

10 Bottles That Prove Cabernet Sauvignon Is Still King in California

Daryna Tobey

"Research Napa Valley, California’s 2012 vintage—the current year of release for most upper-echelon Napa Cabernet Sauvignons—and descriptors of the harvest don’t venture far from "near perfect," "idyllic," and "outstanding." Janet Myers, director of winemaking for Napa's Mount Veeder Winery, describes the Cabernets from that year as "very structural and concentrated." Weather during the 2012 growing season was overall moderate, yielding wines on par with the highly regarded 2005 and 1997 vintages from the area.

Eater decided to taste through Napa's top 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons available today, and below, the best bottles—from big and modern to classically styled—at a variety of price points.

Producer: Brandlin
Wine: Henry’s Keep Proprietary Red Wine, 2012
From: Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California
Retail: $98

Brandlin’s flagship wine is so named because family patriarch Henry Brandlin used to save some of the best grapes from each vintage for his family’s private bottlings. The 2012 Henry’s Keep—a harmonious blend of 78 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 9 percent Malbec, 7 percent Petit Verdot, and 6 percent Cabernet Franc—opens with vibrant aromas of raspberry and black cherry, plus hints of black pepper and earth. On the palate, ripe red plum and blackberry fruit is packaged in a dark soil-and-mineral envelope. Tannins are chewy and a bit dry now; the wine will hold easily through 2025."


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