Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
A beautiful deep ruby color reveals bright black cherry, cola and warm spice aromas mingled with white chocolate, delicate floral layers and a crème brulée vanilla note from the sweet oak. Generous forward fruit and a supple, silky texture enrobe the palate with cola and nutmeg notes filling out deeply layered black fruit flavors. The finish is rich, dense and refined, lifted by ample lingering fruit.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2010 Quintessa, a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Carmenere (don’t forget, the proprietor Agustin Huneeus has a background in Chile), is an elegant, finesse-styled red offering deep, rich, cassis fruit, dusty, loamy soil notes, medium to full body and ripe tannins. This evolved, seductive, round, generous 2010 offers up attractive notes of white chocolate and flowers as it sits in the glass. This is one of the first vintages made by Charles Thomas who has an impressive resume having worked previously at Robert Mondavi Winery and Rudd Estate. This 2010 should be drunk over the next decade or more."
Wine Spectator - "Pure, rich and supple, with a mix of mocha, dark berry, cedar and black licorice notes, all coming together on the finish. The tannins keep the reverberating flavors in check. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Carmenère. Drink now through 2026. "
International Wine Cellar - "Good bright, deep red. Perfumed aromas of raspberry, currant, fresh herbs, sage, tobacco leaf and flowers; downright claret-like. Broad and nicely high-pitched on the palate, with complex red fruit, spice, tobacco and herb flavors lifted by graphite minerality. This highly aromatic wine really spreads out and resounds on the back end. The building tannins are firm and a bit peppery, but the finish is pliant and sweet. A very successful vintage for this flagship bottling."
Decanter - "Dense plum nose, with lots of chocolate and mocha characters. Blackcurrant palate with surprisingly well-balanced tannins and alcohol. Suave, concentrated and fleshy, this has good depth and considerable swagger."
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In the northeastern corner of Rutherfod lies Quintessa. The estate is one of the most scenic and geographically unique properties of the Napa Valley. When Agustin and Valeria Huneeus began to develop the property as a vineyard in 1990, they availed themselves of the most advanced viticultural research of the time. Valeria Huneeus, in keeping with her vision as steward of this land, has guided Quintessa's evolution from sustainable farming in 1990 to organic farming in 1995 and to biodynamic farming in 2000. The winery at Quintessa was built into one of the property's many hills. Its eco-sensitive design incorporates gravity flow, French oak and stainless steel fermenters specifically tailored to the diverse blocks of the Quintessa vineyard, and naturally cold caves. View all Quintessa Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.