By Ralph Del Rio, Wine Correspondent
As 2016 ends and 2017 begins; You’ll have to hurry if you want to scoop up any remaining 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon certainly any 2012 left on the shelves. So I mean hurry!
On the West Coast in 2013, most winemakers reported a great year, a matching to the promising 2012. In many parts of France, though, it was another year of challenging conditions and lower yields. So the best Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely in the states.
By almost every account I looked into; it was one of the highest quality, most successful harvests in decades. Only a little smaller than the giving 2012 harvest, the 2013 harvest also saw just somewhat cooler temperatures heading into harvest, which led to a touch of higher acidity levels than 2012.
Hence, the only real debate about the quality of the 2012 and 2013 vintages in Napa Valley is which one might be better. Both are fantastic years. 2012 is a little more open, cheery and ready, and 2013 a bit more structured and intense. I prefer the 2013, but for Cab freaks they both present a wealth of great wines..
If you haven’t jumped in with both feet already; what does the best of 2013 Napa Cabernet taste like? In a nutshell… Magnificent. I love the cooler flavors and lower alcohols and for sure that the 2013 superior growing conditions across the board. The utmost fruitful wines have an unbelievable intensity thanks to super-juicy acidity, and their tannins are structured refined and smooth; with a very fresh character. Rich, ripe and fresh with structure.
It’s interesting that in the ones I’ve had; the tannin content of the 2013s was about the same as the top wines of 2012. But, the difference for me is the 2012s show much more fruit and delicacy than the 2013s. The 2013 Napa Valley Cabs are at tad heftier while The 2012s Cabs are delicious to drink right now and will be through their life. Both are really outstanding vintages so seek the remaining 2013s and 2012 if you are lucky – By the way the Zinfandels in Napa and Sonoma are very good as well.
2012 Mount Veeder Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($40)
Lots of dark blackberry and cassis here, great acidity and with a light minty edge; an imposing mountain Napa Cabernet at a good price
2013 Turnbull Wine Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($50)
Nice and big with teeth gripping and tannin; great match to a medium rare Delmonico steak….and a nice cigar and port right after…
2013 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars CASK 23 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($250)
Massive level of complexity, blueberries and baked spice, rich and dense. Magnificent floral notes melded with the blueberry