It’s no wonder Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry carries this 2014 TOR Napa Valley Cabernet on its list. In a gushing 95-point, 150-word love-letter, International Wine Review named it “sensational,” “outstanding,” and said it “impresses from the instant the cork is pulled.” TOR inches closer to perfection each year in the pages of Wine Advocate with multiple 96-100 scores. “Kudos to Tor Kenward who is pushing the envelope in a dramatic and brilliant manner!” declared Robert Parker, who has described the portfolio as “wines with sensational quality.” Featuring fruit drawn primarily from Melanson Vineyard on Pritchard Hill — which Wine Enthusiast says is producing “among the most profound wines in Napa” — Tor and winemaker Jeff Ames have another massive hit on their hands with this 2014.
Ames, “one of Napa’s rising stars” according to Wine Spectator, and Kenward, a 25-year veteran of Beringer and a consummate collector, primarily focus on single-vineyard releases. But when they see an opportunity to create a blend that’s “equally as brilliant,” in their words, they go for it. 2014, another miracle vintage in Napa, provided that opportunity. Fruit hails from a handful of elite sites including To Kalon and Cimarossa, but the base is Melanson, a truly exceptional site that hugs Pritchard Hill at 1,200 feet in elevation. Here, grapes thrive above the milky fog line, benefiting from maximum sun exposure and well-draining volcanic rock and Sobrante loam. The resulting terroir offers up the finesse of Oakville with high-altitude rigor and vibrancy.
James Suckling has written that the 2014 Napa reds signal “a new era of classicism,” trading in high-octane fruitbombs for Cabernets that balance “knife edge” focus and firmness with terrific fruit purity and complexity. This 2014 Tor fits that pattern to a tee. Get some before the cellar empties out.