The 2021 PlumpJack Merlot is complex and layered. The nose leads with cherry, raspberry, and boysenberry, followed by sweet earth and dried herbs. The oak barrels bring depth to the nose by infusing notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, pie crust, vanilla, caramel, and hickory. These flavors carry through to the palate, which has a silky texture, firm yet plush tannin, and lively acidity. This wine has great length and finishes with an impression of espresso and baker’s chocolate.
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.