Winemaker Legend Cary Gott’s Mountain Brilliance
One of James Suckling’s “Top 100 Reds of Napa Valley 2016,” this powerhouse 2013 Calla Lily Cabernet Sauvignon won 93 points from the former Wine Spectator bureau chief, who lauded it as “sleek and polished” with “silky tannins.” Renowned, veteran Napa winemaker Cary Gott took full advantage at Calla Lily of the 2013 vintage, deemed by Robert Parker to be “one of the most epic and awesome vintages” in Napa Valley’s history. Tending to vines planted in Pope Valley in 1995, Gott pushed the envelope on mountain concentration with the help of the slopes’ eastern exposure, warm afternoon winds, and the miracle growing season’s dry, hot conditions. Given the now-legendary status of the vintage, you’re lucky to find a 2013 Napa Cabernet of merit that’s still affordable. On that note, released at $65, this 2013 “Ultimate Red” is just $49.99 per bottle from Wine Access — 23% off. This may be one of the last remaining outstanding Cabernet bargain buys of the vintage.
Locals call Pope Valley the “morning side” of Howell Mountain, where peals of sunlight and high elevation endow Bordeaux-style grapes with broad shoulders, phenomenal density, and a terrifically age-worthy backbone. At Calla Lily’s vineyard, daytime highs are lower than most of the valley but nights tend to be on the warmer side. This more regular ripening cycle makes for dense Cabernet Sauvignons, often complicated by notes of rose petal and pine needles.
2012 and 2013 are, many argue, the two most extraordinary back-to-back vintages in Napa Valley history. The alleged superiority of one or the other will consume collectors for years to come. Generally speaking, the 2012s are the juicier of the two vintages. But when evaluating structure and longevity, the smaller-berry clusters of 2013 outpointed 2012, giving birth to what Parker called “equally rich” Cabernets buttressed by sturdy tannins. A snapshot of 2013 and all its virtues, this effort from Calla Lily drinks beautifully right now but will only grow in value with another 7+ years of cellaring.