2007 Saddleback Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa Valley
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RP 90-93 points
(Read the full review below)
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Nils Venge A Last Look at 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon -- on Oakville's Money Road

We're still in Napa -- a town that continues to behave as if the Great Recession never happened. The valley is jammed, not a hotel room to be had. A night at Meadowood or Auberge du Soleil will set you back a cool six bills. Even our coffee spot in St. Helena is packed, shoulder to shoulder.

The collectors are everywhere, stretch limos jockeying for position on the Silverado Trail. They're all ready for bear, greasing up their trigger fingers for Saturday's barrel tasting and auction at the Culinary Institute. Five years ago, we would have felt terribly out of place at Premiere Napa. But not now. There's something kind of heartwarming about the reception we were given by the powers that be at Harlan, Bond, Morlet, Signorello, TOR, and Melka. Almost made us feel like big shots.

Almost. But not quite.

Still, no matter how gracious the host or how highbrow the decorum, we're wired for misbehavior. At every stop, we nose around, eyeballing Library stocks and errant inventory reports. What are we looking for? What do you think?

Napa's 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon vintage will never be forgotten. After both Parker and Wine Spectator called it one of the greatest harvests in valley history, the economic storm clouds over Highway 29 blew off, ushering in a new, and muscle-bound, bull market. From Oak Knoll to Mount Veeder, '07s vanished from cellars. As to the most celebrated blue chip block of Oakville -- and a place they call Money Road -- the 2007 harvest disappeared in a Great Recession nanosecond.

Why do they call it Money Road? Just to the west are Opus One and Far Niente. To the east, just on the other side of the Trail, you'll find Plumpjack, Dalla Valle, Rudd, David Ramey's Pedregal, and Peter Michael's Showket. Next door is Groth Reserve -- home of Nils Venge's -- and Robert Parker's -- first 100pt Cabernet Sauvignon.

In 2007, off just 9.2 rocky acres, Nils fashioned a 2007 Saddleback Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon that would stand tall in Oakville's vintage honor roll. Not surprisingly, given that superb, extended growing season, the winemaker Parker says has "a Midas touch" with Cabernet put out one of the greatest bottles of his 30-year career.

Brilliant purple/black in color, with lavish aromas of crushed blackberry and blueberry, gently tinged with new wood cedar, the attack is absolutely massive -- terrifically dense and almost briary. Rich, lush and chewy on the mid-palate, packed with black fruit preserves, all bracketed by the sumptuous tannins that speak powerfully of the rocky substrata on Money Road.

Tasting Notes

2007 Saddleback Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa Valley
"The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon appears to be one of the finest Saddleback Cellars Cabernets yet produced. This cuvee may last 15 or more years given Venge's Midas touch with this varietal. Dense cassis fruit intermixed with chocolate, spicy oak, and licorice are found in this full-bodied wine that shows good purity and depth. This big wine is normally very realistically priced."
90-93 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

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