Lot 2 Napa Cabernet from Chappellet’s #2 Winemaker
In September, when the last 40 cases of Ry Richards’ 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley sold out, we thought we’d seen the end of Ry’s incredible 2014s. Ry — the protégé of Chappellet’s legendary winemaker Phil Titus — crafts Fiancetto in his “spare time.” As many of you know, his wines are among the best under-$30 Cabernet Sauvignons in Northern California — especially those from Napa’s 2014 “dream vintage.” Ry surprised us when he called with an exclusive offer on his 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 2, confiding, “There’s so little of it that I almost didn’t bottle it, but it was too good not to.” As we would learn, the 2014 “Lot 2” was sourced from one of the valley floor’s greatest wineries, a Wine Advocate favorite, whose 2014 portfolio earned a whopping six scores between 94-97+ points from Robert Parker himself. While these iconic bottles go for $75 — at minimum — Ry’s 2014 Fiancetto “Lot 2” goes for $26, but drinks like $75. Stunning, and perfectly in line with the finessed opulence and openness of the 2014 vintage, just 600 bottles of “Lot 2” will be gone in a flash. You make the call.
The source for Ry’s deep-fruited, small batch “Lot 2” must remain unnamed, per our usual non-disclosure agreement. Our lips are firmly sealed. But we can tell you that in 2014, the famed winery benefited significantly from its location on the valley floor. Why? Throughout Wine Spectator’s “dream vintage,” temperatures were mild and heat spikes nonexistent. Vineyard sites under the fog line had the advantage of longer hang times, with the risk of overexposure to the sun minimized. Grapes could evolve on the vine at their own pace and growers had the luxury of bringing in gorgeous, perfectly ripe fruit that was both massively concentrated and balanced by firm acidity.
Such was the case with Ry’s 2014 Fiancetto Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot 2” — the wine that came by surprise, and will be gone in a flash. Napa Valley Cabernet that over-delivers like this never lasts long.