2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What's in a name
“Probably around $80-100…”
That’s what some of us guessed when tasting this wine, not knowing anything about it.
And it was totally off base. At $65 it’s a respectable deal, a wine capable of standing alongside most any $100+ Napa Cabernets. For our price, at more than 50% off today you will be hard-pressed to find a stronger performer. WRO gave it 95 points, calling it “one of the finest Cabernet Sauvignons” in Napa, asserting that “over the years since he left the Pepi winery Bob Pepi has quietly carved a stellar reputation for his ability with the Napa Valley’s most important grape.”
Robert Pepi’s family sold their renowned family winery in 1994. As part of the deal, they couldn’t use the Pepi name on any future wines. So, with the unstoppable desire to make more wine, he came up with the “eponymous” moniker. It’s a cheeky nod to “one who is unable to use his family name on his own bottle of wine” as he says.
A Washington Examiner article captures the story best; “It all began in the mid-1960s, when his dad bought a vineyard in the Oakville district in Napa Valley. By 1980, Pepi and his dad set up a winery and started making Robert Pepi wines. Soon, Pepi’s wines were receiving high praise and great scores. Success attracts attention. In 1994, Pepi’s family sold the winery and the Robert Pepi label to Kendall-Jackson, which became the foundation for K-J’s famous, ultra-high-end brand Cardinale. Without the family winery as his anchor, Pepi was now free to indulge his ultimate passion.”
Pepi is well connected in the valley, and he sources fruit from four vineyard sites. Mt Veeder delivers the nuclear core of power. The balance of fruit comes from Howell Mountain, Coombsville, and lower Atlas Peak. Spending a log time in mostly new French oak gives it a strong backbone. So inky and dark. Darker than your gothic cousin’s mood at Thanksgiving. It comes packing jammy blackberry, cassis, and black plums galore, with some petrichor, dusty earth, a dusting of dark cocoa, clove, and roasted sage. Chewy, fairly structured, with ample tannins, it’s still a baby right now. No doubt this will soften and improve with age, but don’t hesitate to open a bottle, give it an hour of air, and revel in its glory today.
Today, and today only that is - while it lasts.
95 Points – Wine Review Online
“Winemaker Bob Pepi’s brand and it’s consistently one of the finest Cabernet Sauvignons made in the Napa Valley. This vintage is both elegant and powerful, beautifully scented and spicy, showing aromas of blueberry and blackberry with a subtle touch of oak and beautifully integrated tannins… When it comes to 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, for those that appreciate consistency of style and profile, you can’t go wrong here.”
So inky and dark ruby in the heart, darker than your gothic cousin’s mood at Thanksgiving!
Jammy blackberry, cassis, black plums, petrichor, dusty earth, dark cocoa, clove, and roasted sage
Chewy, fairly structured, with ample tannins, still a baby right now, will soften and improve with age
Very long and tightly wound, but don’t hesitate to open with an hour of air, and revel in its glory
Fire up the grill to sear your favorite cut well, making sure to leave some pink in the middle
What the Winery Says
- Robert Pepi
- 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Mt. Veeder, Howell Mountain, Coombsville & Atlas Peak
- Total acidity
- 5.86 g/L
- Residual sugar
- 0.52 g/L
- Brix at harvest
- Harvest dates
- Late September - Early October 2017
- Bottling date
- July 15, 2019
- 20 months
- 60% new (90% French, 10% American) oak