A $30 competitor to $150 Napa Cab
If Grand Napa Vineyards’ prime location in the Cabernet mecca of Rutherford, right across Highway 29 from Peju, were the most impressive thing about their 2016 Master Red, then we would shout it from the top of the Mayacamas. But it turns out that the winery’s position—neighboring legends like Grgich, Staglin, and Beaulieu Vineyard—doesn’t quite deserve the headline on today’s offer.
That honor belongs to the company the 2016 Master Red keeps—not in their Rutherford neighborhood, but in the eyes of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, which gave the wine 93 points: the same score as Flora Springs’ Rennie Reserve ($150), Silverado Vineyards Solo ($150), and a slew of high dollar red wines. Forty of them cost over $100, which makes the Master Red, at its SRP of $85, a rock-solid buy. But at just $27.99 per bottle on a case, this garnet red is a steal, and 67% off SRP.
Absolutely dripping with black currant, plum, cedar, and Kirsch, this wine proudly struts the complexity that marks the finest and priciest Cabernet-based blends in the valley, and it comes with a 93-point endorsement from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate—again, for $27.99. We don’t have to tell you how rare that is. We’ll just remind you to be vigilant.
Grand Napa Vineyards winemaker Dwight Bonewell sources the fruit for the Master Red from the Rutherford estate’s top sources throughout Napa Valley, including St. Helena, Oak Knoll, and the rapidly rising Coombsville AVA. Hailing from the extraordinary 2016 vintage, this is a straightforward Bordeaux style cuvée—Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc—to which Bonewell has added a deft twist: He bolsters the Master Red with 5% Zinfandel, just enough of the ripe, luscious grape to boost the fruit purity in the final wine.
The finished bottling is garnet-black, and bursting with all the markers of a classic California Left Bank blend: rich black currant and cedar, plum, black tea, and graphite, with soft and approachable tannins.
Think about this: If $35 Napa Cabernets are few and far between, how often can you expect a Wine Advocate 93-pointer to cross your threshold, at under $30? On second thought, don’t ruminate on that too long because this allocation can’t last.