As with the 2015, the base 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is a tremendous value. Blueberries, black cherries, licorice and hints of charcoal all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, ripe, opulent red that lacks the sheer grandeur and finesse of the top cuvee, yet packs gorgeous fruit and offers a peek at the quality coming from this estate. The blend is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc aged in 50% new French oak. One of the eye-opening tastings while working on this report was the lineup from Kathryn Hall’s estate located in St. Helena. There’s a wealth of wines here, yet they all have deep, concentrated, pure profiles as well as singular characters. You could pretty much randomly select from this lineup and be guaranteed to have a brilliant wine. Hats off to winemaker Steve Leveque.
The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc) represents the least expensive wine in the Hall portfolio at $55. The color is a saturated purple, and the wine rich, chewy and unctuously textured, with ripe tannin and a round, juicy mouthfeel. For a generic Napa, it has plenty of upside to it and will actually benefit from several more years of bottle age and keep for 15-20 years. (RP)
Among the winery's larger offerings, this wine doesn't hold back on quality, offering tight-grained tannin expression around rounded flavors of plum compote, blackberry bramble, cedar and clove. Bright, focused acidity tempers the ripeness and underlying richness, making for a welcome drinking experience. (VB)
Dark and rich, with explosive dark berry, mocha, licorice, cedar and crushed rock touches, tilting toward herbal underbrush notes on the finish but never losing focus on the fruit. Drink now through 2032. (JL)
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)