If we’re honest, a truly fine wine is something of a striptease. You may open the cork and pour a glass, but the wine slowly reveals itself over time. There is no rush. When first opening this 2016, the nose exhibits what you want from Napa Cabernet, the dark black fruits, blackberry blueberry, boysenberry, a little bit of raspberry. The oak is there hovering in the background but not overwhelming nor demanding. The tannins are tight and it’s certainly drinkable as is. Comprised mainly of cabernet sauvignon with 9% cabernet franc and 6% petite verdot, it was aged 20 months in French oak - 60% of that was new wood. After an hour of decanting what you notice is this Cabernet, like many great Napa Cabernet’s, deviate from the pedestrian versions that dominate store shelves – wines that are full of oak, high alcohol and little else. What Spottswoode has managed to do, and done for years, is to offer a seamless balance between oak aging, impeccable fruit, acidity and tannic structure of grapes that are meticulously farmed. The result is a subtle, balanced, lithe wine that doesn’t fully express itself, even after a few hours of it being opened. And this is the beauty of fine wine - there are nuances that evolve over time. These kinds of wines are meant to be savored, relished, requiring you to patiently wait over the course of an evening as things develop and transform into something really unique. 24 hours after opening, the fruit has beautifully harmonized within the glass. The elements of oak fruit acidity and tannic structure come together seamlessly. And yes, it’s worth waiting for.
ORIGIN: St. Helena, Napa Valley
PRICE: $225/750 ml
SCORE: 94 POINTS