Napa is world renown for Cabernet. And there is no shortage of great ones, but there are also a lot of great Cab Franc's, Zin's, Syrah's and Petit Sirah's at really great prices. The 2008 vintage in Napa (and Sonoma) is looking stellar.

The current buzz is geared around the 2007 vintage because many 07's are hitting our stores now. On a recent trip, many winemakers and winery staff said, if you didn't make a good 2007, you should find another job. And even more good news: 2008 has the potential to eclipse the great 2007 vintage.

After bud break in 2008 in the Napa Valley there was a heavy frost that helped reduce yields up to 30% in some places. Lower yielding vines produce higher quality clusters and a better final product. Great producers will actually drop grape clusters weeks before the harvest ensuring a higher quality final product.  Of all the 2008s I tried from barrel, most were absolutely outstanding.
The best of the best 2008 samples were from Quintessa and Realm. Save up for the Quintessa.  It's two years from hitting our shelves, but the current vintage 2006 Quintessa was a favorite as well, and now available. Realm is a small producer (with big ratings) that has a loyal mailing-list following. A long wait and some good luck may get you on it. 

Quintessa, Rutherford, CA

Another very special Napa winery is Kapcsandy. This amazing single vineyard in Yountville is producing some great Bordeaux styled blends.  The 2007 Cabernet received 100 points from Robert Parker.  The 2008s are tasting great as well.  Kapcsandy is currently determining who their Chicagoland distributor is going to be.  Hopefully we will see them again soon.

Pride and Robert Keenan on Spring Mountain are also great visits. These wineries both produce top Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.  Spring Mountain, as you can see, is scenic.  It is a part of the Mayacamas mountain range on the west side on the Napa Valley.  Pride is actually on the Napa and Sonoma county line.  Because of that, they have two separate winemaking facilities.  











Robert Keenan, Spring Mountain












 Pride Mountain Vineyards























Pride Mountain Vineyards




























Outpost, Howell Mountain



Back in the valley, Shafer is always a favorite winery to visit.  The 2007 Merlot was ripe, balanced and well worth the tariff.  The 2005 Hillside Select was like liquid velvet.  It's one of the best wines produced in Napa.





















Tanner Shafer






In my next blog, more Napa and some highlights from Sonoma