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Spring Mountain Napa Valley We Saw it Coming

By late 2008, Napa Valley was caught in the crosshairs. The plunging Dow and jittery banks had teamed up, clobbering restaurants and high-end retail. Wineries up and down the Silverado Trail were stuck with 2005s and 2006s -- some excellent -- without a buyer in sight. Prices plummeted. The best of those wines ended up on WineAccess.

But after three stellar vintages in a row, beginning with the monumental 2007 and concluding with a 2009 harvest that many claim to be the best of the trio, the storm clouds that had been hovering over Napa were whisked away. Small yields in 2008 and 2009, and more cautious production strategies, turned the supply curve on its ear. Prices, beginning with those 2007s, climbed back to pre-Bear Sterns levels.

We saw it coming. We knew that thousands of Napa Valley Cabernet enthusiasts had developed an insatiable appetite for powerhouse under-$30 bottles, even as those price tags were being replaced by $50 tickets. But we thought we saw an opportunity, and we jumped.

Even as demand picked up, a number of our most elite winery partners were still cash flow poor in 2010. Many considered selling off some of their production on the bulk market. But those prices were commoditized, with both excellent mountain Cabernet and top valley floor wines harvested before the October 12 rains fetching no more than the mundane rained-on stuff. After touring all of our favorite sellers, we discovered a number who were willing to play ball. We offered these brands the WineAccess platform at a discount, allowing them to generate quick cash flow on their superb 2009s at a ticket price far more generous than the bulk market.

Sound like a bunch of BS? You don't believe a word of it? Ok, then call our bluff. Here's your shot.

We've assembled 3 and 6-packs of three lavish 2009 Napa Valley Cabernets. One is from Peter Snowden's Rockledge, the top of the line Cabernet Sauvignon "Reserve." The second is from wunderkind winemaker Ry Richards, drawn from the prized Boomer Loam soils of Howell Mountain, a stone's throw from Cimarossa. The last? The 2009 Carl Roy Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from the brilliant Chad Alexander whose 2007 Aurielle stood Robert Parker on his ear.

What's the downside? There isn't one. Where else can you buy top shelf Cabernets from the sensational 2009 vintage for less than half price -- shipping to your door included.

One more thing. Remember to rate what you buy. If we're wrong about any of these, we'll be getting back to you to make it right. More BS? Try us out. You'll see.

Tasting Notes

2009 Rockledge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley
"Peter Snowden's Rockledge turned out a beautifully concentrated Reserve in 2009, drawn from vines on the valley floor, all harvested in the first days of the second week of October before the first rain came. Deep purple, pretty aromas of currants and dark red fruits. Rich and dense on the attack like so many of the top 09s, with a silken ripe berry middle, fine, sneaky tannin backbone. Drinking beautifully right out of the gate, but if you lay this one down, allow the secondary flavors to come into play, this Reserve Cabernet will be going strong up until 2020."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

2009 Carl Roy Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District
"Opaque purple to the edge. Explosive aromas of cassis, blueberries and flowers, laced with cedar. Powerful attack of cassis and plums, rich and silken, yet beautifully chiseled. Huge mountain berry concentration with excellent depth and persistence, bracketed by supple tannins Drink now for its youthful Hedonism after an hour in an open carafe, or age for up to a decade in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

2009 Fiancetto Cabernet Sauvignon Boomer Loam Howell Mountain
"Opaque purple in color. Luscious aromas of ripest cassis, dark wild cherry, a splash of cedar. Rich, terrifically dense and saturated on the attack, with a 'sultry' dark purple fruit kernel. Don't let the massive concentration trick you into thinking there aren't plenty of refreshing tannins lurking behind the youthful opulence. Drink now, if you can't help yourself -- or age for up to a decade in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log