Hoarder of 100-point scores, Thomas Rivers Brown isn’t the only thing Round Pond has going for it. The estate’s prime Rutherford location shares the sacred soils of nearby Caymus and Staglin.
Most Cabernets bearing the expert fingerprints of Thomas Rivers Brown — who has guided a staggering 25 wines to 100-point perfection — command triple digit prices, which is why we call the 2016 Round Pond Kith & Kin Cabernet Sauvignon one of the most consistent overperformers in Napa. The influence of the 100-point-hoarding Brown as consulting winemaker is not the only thing that makes Round Pond remarkable: The estate is located in a prime Rutherford location, sharing soils equally sacred to nearby Napa standard-bearer Caymus and cult favorite Staglin. Wine Spectator, Food & Wine, and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate all have heaped praise on the last three vintages of Kith & Kin, and this just-released 2016 hails from a growing season that Wine Spectator says “extends a run of exceptional years for Cabernet Sauvignon” in Napa. With unparalleled pedigree and provenance, Round Pond’s broad, rich, and toasty Kith & Kin is one of the most stunning under-$30 Napa Cabernets we have tasted.
In the early days of Round Pond, founder Bob MacDonnell was known as “Lucky Bob” for the good fortune that seemed to gild every one of his decisions: He bought 20 acres of land atop Pritchard Hill before the now-prestigious area was on the map. He then experienced success digging a well — something that had eluded every other vintner on the notoriously dry hill. Finally, in 1986, he had the opportunity to purchase a 250-acre rock-strewn property with fairly deep clay-filled soils in Rutherford. Lucky Bob pulled the trigger, and found himself with Andy Beckstoffer’s prized Georges III Vineyard (the core of BV’s famous Georges de Latour Reserve) on one side of his new property, and Caymus on the other.
What some call luck could also be called shrewd decision-making, and none looks more savvy than the one to tap Thomas Rivers Brown as consulting winemaker. Jay McInerney, author, critic, and wine columnist for the Wall Street Journal, has called the humble Brown — who has authored 25 100-point wines but has himself lost count — “the most successful winemaker in California,” and those numbers make it hard to argue with that assessment. These kinds of credentials accompany few wines, let alone under-$30 steals like the broad and luxurious Kith & Kin. Offering gorgeous blue and black fruits on the nose, sumptuous vanilla and clove accents, and ripe tannins, this is a wine that leaves its humble price in the dust.
Editor-in-Chief, Wine Access
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