I live in Napa Valley and have come to know the rhythm of its seasons and the evolving styles of its winemakers. Here are ten fantastic Cabernets from my recent tastings. They’re all on the market now, but I’m sure they’ll be snapped up soon, so move fast. What makes these Cabs so special? Beauty over weight. Precision over power. A lit-from-within aliveness. Plus freshness. Napa Cabernet without freshness has all the charm of flat Coke. (Wines below are listed in random order.)

QUINTESSA 2019 (Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA) $230
A wine of great beauty and richness. Long waves of cassis and vanilla bean. Tannin that’s so soft and refined that the wine’s texture is like silk-wrapped velvet. Balanced, fresh, and ripe but not a nanosecond overripe. Impeccable. One of the best Quintessas of the last few years. 97 points KM

CROSBY ROAMANN Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (Napa Valley, CA) $85
Husband and wife owners and self-taught winemakers Juliana and Sean McBride started Crosby Roamann (grandparents’ names) in 2007 with a “prayer” and on “a bootstrap.” The winery—in an industrial area of downtown Napa—may be modest, but this Cabernet is fantastic. Savory, sophisticated, loaded with deep plum, cassis, and vanilla bean flavors, and very long. 95 points KM

CORISON “Kronos Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (St. Helena, Napa Valley, CA) $225
This was our WineSpeed “Wine to Know” a few weeks back. In case you missed it: know that “Kronos” is Cathy Corison’s top single-vineyard wine, and it’s a stunner. Plush yet precise, structured yet elegant, it’s a wine of depth, complexity, and beauty. It slow dances onto the palate with languorous deliciousness, then whirlwinds its way to a long supple finish. 97 points KM

DALLA VALLE Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (Oakville, Napa Valley, CA) $299
In 2017, winemaker Maya Dalla Valle took over the helm at Dalla Valle from her mother Naoko and consulting winemaker Andy Erickson. The Cabernets not only maintained their high standard, if anything, they seem to have gotten even better. This immaculately structured 2020 is already a wine of grace and elegance. 96 points KM

RUDD Oakville Estate Red 2019 (Oakville, Napa Valley, CA) $295
Rudd is now led by two young women—owner Samantha Rudd (35) and winemaker Natalie Bath (35). The vineyards are full of red volcanic rocks that are the remnants of ancient landslides. The winery’s 2019 is beautifully sleek, precise, refined, and very long. 96 points KM

BOND “Vecina” 2019 (Oakville, Napa Valley, CA) $850
The BOND wines—part of the stable of wines owned by the Harlan family—are exquisite (and breathtakingly priced). Among them is BOND “Vecina” (Spanish for “neighbor”) which comes from a patch of vineyard (a Napa “Grand Cru”) at the top of Vine Hill Ranch. The wine is already elegant, with a purity of flavor and finesse that’s show-stopping. 97 points KM

FISHER “Cameron” Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (Napa Valley, CA) $125
Plush and hedonistic, Fisher’s “Cameron” is also very beautifully structured–rich but not saturated–with a wonderful sense of aliveness. The Fisher family has a track record; they founded the winery in 1973. Cameron is named after the youngest family member. The vineyards are at the foot of the Palisades Mountains in Calistoga. 94 points KM

PETER MICHAEL “Au Paradis” Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (Oakville, Napa Valley, CA) $235
Paradise indeed. Sir Peter Michael owns the very best mountain vineyards in Knights Valley, Sonoma (from which come his famous Chardonnays). But he also owns a tiny vineyard in Oakville, planted with Cabernet. The wine is superb—spicy, fresh, balanced, plummy, and generous, with a dramatic structure. 95 points KM

LYNDENHURST by SPOTTSWOODE 2019 (Napa Valley, CA) $90
Here’s a terrific Napa Valley Cabernet to buy when you want to stay under a $100 price tag. Very soft and long, with a mouthful of ripe cassis fruit in the middle. Lots of menthol-like freshness gives the wine poise and balance. 93 points KM

SILENUS Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, CA) $90
If you like your Napa Cabernets bold and powerful, Silenus is for you. The wine has big gulping waves of intense cassis and blackberries, plus a formidable structure. Yet Silenus also has precision, purity, and length. The winery is located on the old site of Newlan Vineyards, founded in 1978, and is now owned by Silenus International Group, a Chinese American multinational company. 95 points KM


Get WineSpeed

Join tens of thousands of other wine lovers. Get each week’s edition of WineSpeed delivered to your inbox every Friday. It’s fast. It’s free. It’s the smartest way to stay up to speed on wine.
Email address
First Name
Last Name
Other Way You Heard About Us
Be sure to check your inbox to confim your subscription.