This is the first vintage of this new label by Buena Vista, commemorating the year it was founded. The 2018 Red Wine 1857 is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Sauvignon is from the Morris vineyard on Diamond Mountain, the Petit Verdot was harvested from the Larkmead vineyard in Calistoga, and the Cabernet Franc is from the Casa Nuestra vineyard in St. Helena. It was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, 45% new. Very deep purple-black colored, it slowly unfurls to reveal fantastically fragrant notes of candied violets, star anise, clove oil and chocolate mints, over a core of crème de cassis, Black Forest cake and blueberry pie with hints of pencil shavings and fallen leaves. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is jam-packed with rich, seductive black and blue fruit layers, framed by oh-so-plush tannins and a seamless line of freshness, finishing very long and perfumed. Only 50 cases were made. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown
Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon coming from four different vineyards in St. Helena and Rutherford, the deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Generations comes wafting out of the glass with the most gorgeous perfume of kirsch, blackcurrant cordial, blackberry preserves and spice cake, followed by notes of potpourri, oolong tea and unsmoked cigars. The full-bodied, decadently fruited palate delivers loads of savory accents among the juicy black and red fruit layers, supported by velvety tannins and bags of freshness, finishing long and fragrant. 1,718 cases were made. -Lisa Perrotti-Brown
All Cabernet from St. Helena brought up in special La Grange Phi barrels, the 2018 JCB Phi certainly delivers the goods. A thrilling bottle of wine it ranks with the crème de la crème of this great vintage. Lots of pure cassis, flowers, crème brûlée, and classy oak emerge from the glass, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a pure, layered, multi-dimensional texture, flawless balance, and a great finish. It has an incredibly singular character and is just a brilliant bottle of wine. It has plenty of integrated oak, which should integrate with 4-5 years of bottle age, but I’d certainly be thrilled to drink a bottle today. It should keep for 30 years or more.
Gorgeous crème de cassis, crushed violets, lead pencil, graphite, and a liquid rock-like character all emerge from the 2018 Surrealist, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from St. Helena and 15% Petit Verdot from Rutherford. Full-bodied, deep, dense, and brilliantly concentrated, with building tannins and just an incredible mix of power and elegance, this needs 4-5 years of bottle age and will keep for 25 to 30 years.
Lots of sweet tobacco, chocolate, and earth as well as plenty of dark fruits emerge from the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Generations. This stunning 2018 is full-bodied, concentrated, and light on its feet, with perfect symmetry and balance. Based on 100% Cabernet Sauvignon blended from four different vineyards in St. Helena and Rutherford, aged in 52% new French oak, this powerful yet elegant Napa Valley Cabernet already offers pleasure, yet my money is on it evolving for over two decades.
This appellation excelled in 2018, and I loved the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon District Collection Diamond Mountain. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in just under 50% new oak, it offers loads of red and black currant fruit as well as complex baking spice, chocolate, dried herbs, and earthy aromas and flavors. Rich but not heavy, balanced, and beautifully textured, it’s one of the top wines at the under-$100 price point.
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon District Collection Rutherford is another gem that has the charming, already approachable style that’s common from wines from Raymond, yet it also shines for its balance, mid-palate depth, and length on the finish. Lots of textbook Cabernet tobacco, earth, cassis, and spice notes emerge from the glass, and it’s another head-turning wine in the lineup that can be drunk today yet also cellared for 15 years or more.
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon District Collection Yountville comes from a single vineyard off State Lane and was brought up in 38% new French oak. Pretty, floral notes of sappy herbs, spring flowers, iron, chocolate, and more red fruits define the bouquet, and it’s beautifully concentrated and seamless on the palate. It’s another winner.
All the District Collection series are around 500 cases or less, and they give an incredible insight into the different appellations in the valley. Starting with the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon District Collection Stags Leap, it has perfumed red and black fruits and tobacco notes to go with full-bodied richness and a seamless, layered texture on the palate. Stags Leap is a cooler region, and you see that in the aromatics, but this brings serious fruit on the palate without losing its sense of finesse. It’s beautifully done and will evolve for 15-20 years.
Based on 62% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Petite Sirah, the 2018 Knockout Red is another classic wine in the lineup that has purity and freshness while still bringing plenty of opulence and texture. Beautiful notes of blackcurrants, scorched earth, and candied violets emerge from this full-bodied 2018, which has integrated acidity, fine tannins, and a great finish.