This alluring Cabernet is a big, rich red with immediately inviting aromas of blackberry, blueberry, and toasted spices. For all the energy and plushness, this stays well-balanced on the palate with complex flavors, creamy texture, and bold yet silky tannins. The finish lingers for an eternity, which is a relief because this bold red is one you’ll never want to end. Sit with those lingering impressions of baker’s chocolate and espresso before you dive back into the silky, mouth-filling fruit.
If we were to pick just one Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to blast into interstellar space for aliens to try when they stumble upon it someday, that wine would be Plumpjack Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville. In our view it is the most flavor-packed, complex, complete bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that you can buy, in pretty much every vintage. Plumpjack is in one posh neighborhood, with Screaming Eagle, Rudd, Bond St. Eden, and Dalla Valle all nearby. This is Oakville’s (and the Valley’s) absolute sweet spot, near the crossroads of Oakville Cross and Silverado Trail. Their Cabernets are absolutely spectacular, stuffed to the gills with ripe cherry fruit and red rose perfume—and very fairly priced compared to the neighbors.
Composed of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate displays a deep garnet-purple color and fragrant notes of Black Forest cake, crème de cassis and wild blueberries with nuances of red roses, Chinese five spice, camphor and black olive plus a hint of charcoal. Full-bodied, the decadently rich fruit has impressive freshness lifting the palate along with firm, finely grained tannins, finishing long and fragrant.
Moving to the two Cabernet releases, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is based on 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec and the rest Petit Verdot, all from Oakville fruit. Promising yet restrained notes of ripe currants, tobacco leaf, sharpened #2 pencils, and chocolate give way to a full-bodied Cabernet that has sweet tannins, a layered, elegant texture, plenty of mid-palate depth, and a great finish. This rich, concentrated 2018 can be drunk today with ample pleasure or cellared for 15-20 years or more.