2015 Napa Valley Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley: Atlas Peak
It is rare that we come across a 95 point Napa Cabernet Sauvignon that isn’t on allocation - and therefore unavailable to our Operatives. It is even rarer, still, that the wine hails from Cab Valhalla, the Atlas Peak AVA. We worked our covert skills to bring you today’s rich, elegant, and oppulently delicious Cab from a small, boutique producer, Aveo.
Its deep, garnet hue permeates from its very core to its outer edges. The nose is fragrant and enticing, with surprisingly similar notes to a Dry Creek Zin with gingerbread, cola, marzipan, currants, and walnut. On the palate, the nice gingerbread and vanilla notes remain, but they are joined by a chorus of fruit flavors including blackberry, date, and black cherry. This Cab is particularly graceful on the palate with a nice, smooth mouthfeel that coats the center and the back of the tongue and exits slowly with an elegant finish. Lamb can be a tricky one to pair, and this one straddles the line between fruit-forwardness and body, so it would be perfect.
This wine is fermented in special, far more costly barrels, giving the wine added character and elegance not found in a wine that we fermented in lesser barrels. As the winery says, “The oak is carefully sorted and naturally seasoned for 3 years at the cooperage (a full year longer than most other top end barrels). The extra fine grain structure in these Grande Reserve barrels controls the rate at which flavor compounds are introduced, and so our Cabernet remains barreled a full 30 months to develop its richness, structure, and elegance.”
The Atlas Peak AVA (American Viticultural Area) is located in Napa County, on the western slopes of the Vaca Range. This mountain separates the Napa Valley from the Sacramento Valley. With an elevation of 2,663 feet, Atlas Peak is the most prominent peaks in the region.
Production of wines in the Atlas Peak AVA dates back to 1870. Of the 11,400 acres of land that comprise the AVA, more than 500 acres are under vine. This appellation, which used to be known primarily for Zinfandel production, now produces the premium varietals used to create Bordeaux-style wines. These include the varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, and Petite Verdot, but there are also small plantings of Syrah, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
95 points - San Francisco Wine Panel - “This very impressive Cabernet seems textbook “Atlas Peak” in its aromatic layering of dark cherry, black raspberry, purple plum, black currant, violet, brûléed fig, peppercorn, clove, vanilla, cedar, leather, darkly sweet pipe tobacco, graphite and charred wood. Minerality, zest and tannic grip are evident on the palate and join to streamline the texture but not the impact of the wine’s deep baked plum, berry compote, dark cherry and grilled fig flavors and counterpoints of sweet-savory spice. The finish is lingering and the balance immediately food-worthy, despite the wine’s clear potential for growth. It will be well matched to darkly caramelized roasts, braised beef short ribs, garlicky leg of lamb and the like. Expect four years or more of steady growth. 144 cases produced.”
Deep garnet hue permeates from its very core to its outer edges.
Gingerbread, cola, marzipan, currants, walnut.
Gingerbread, vanilla, blackberry, date and black cherry.
Nice, smooth mouthfeel that coats the center and the back of the tongue and exits slowly with an elegant finish.
Lamb. This Cab straddles the line between fruit-forwardness and body, so it would be perfect.
What the Winery Says
- Steve Jennings
- 90% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 10% Petit Verdot
- Napa Valley, Atlas Peak