Galloni on Napa: What I Liked This Year

In his recent comprehensive coverage for Vinous of the Napa Valley, Antonio Galloni reviews hundreds of wines from properties worth seeking out. Included, is his list of “What I Liked This Year.” Here is the A, B & C of what Galloni liked, as well as a selection of related wines. Discover Galloni’s entire list, A to Z, in his article Brilliance in Napa Valley: The 2016 & 2015 Cabernets on Vinous. Accendo – Bart and Daphne Araujo produced stellar Cabernets in both 2014 and 2015 under their new Accendo label. Bevan – Russell Bevan and his partner, Victoria De Crescenzo, have gone from being small producers working with purchased fruit to now owning estate vineyards and having a brand, new winery in Oakville. That takes passion, vision and the ability to execute, all skills that are rare. The 2015s are showy and sure to be crowd pleasers, but the 2016s are even better, as they are more expressive of site. The red blend Ontogeny is, in my view, just as compelling as many of the higher-end wines. Tony Biagi – Biagi has proven he has the magic touch when it comes to making modern, sumptuous Napa Valley Cabernets of the highest level. Not only has Biagi made a meaningful difference at every estate where he has been in charge (PlumpJack, Hourglass), he has also shown a talent for grooming winemakers who have eventually taken over day-to-day winemaking at his projects (PlumpJack, Sinegal) and for helping turning around estates entirely, most notable at Clos du Val, but also Amici, all while making tremendous wines at Patria, his own label. Blankiet – Under the direction of Graeme MacDonald, these wines have never been more thrilling than they are today. Claude and Katherine Blankiet could have hired anyone they wanted to take over the reins after Denis Malbec passed away unexpectedly in 2016. Over the years the Blankiets have employed a who’s who of famed winemakers at their estate. Instead, the Blankiets took a chance and hired MacDonald, one of Napa Valley’s most talented young winemakers, and then gave him an enormous amount of latitude. That decision has paid off big time in an absolutely stellar set of 2016s. Alejandro Bulgheroni – Napa Valley is full of new, ambitious, high-end wineries making luxurious, super-expensive wines with no track records. Argentine mogul Alejandro Bulgheroni’s project (covered in the second installment of this article) is the real deal. These are magnificent wines by any measure. Continuum – I was simply blown away by the wines I tasted on my most recent visit. The estate has made noteworthy, powerful wines since the beginning, but the latest vintages point to a greater emphasis on finesse. Tim and Marcia Mondavi, and their family, were spot on in their instinct to focus on these Pritchard Hill sites for Continuum.

Accendo Cellars

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Delectable Wine
9.5

A wine of precision, nuance and tension, Accendo's 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon continues to grow in bottle. There is a sense of translucent vibrancy in the 2014 that is especially admirable. Red and purplish-toned fruit, lavender, mint and crushed rocks are all beautifully delineated, but it is the wine's shape and drive that I find most alluring today. This is a fabulous showing. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2018) — 13 days ago

Greg, "Odedi" and 4 others liked this

Pátria

Avoyelles California Red Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.7

"The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Avoyelles, Biagi's Cabernet Franc-based wine, is stellar. A towering, voluptuous wine, the 2015 is utterly captivating. Blueberry jam, mint, spice, lavender and crème de cassis give the 2015 much of its rich, super-concentrated feel, while soaring Franc overtones add nuance. The 2015 is even better from bottle than it was from barrel. There is so much to like. Sadly, there are just two barrels to go around." (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2018) — 13 days ago

Brian, Greg and 1 other liked this

Continuum

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2015

Delectable Wine
9.8

Bottled just a few months ago, the 2015 Continuum is shaping up to be a real gem. The flavors are dark, bold and incisive. In 2015, poor weather during flowering took with it 50% of the production in Continuum's prime Cabernet Sauvignon blocks. As a result, the 2015 has a high percentage (31%) of Cabernet Franc. Today, the Franc is keeping the wine a bit clenched, but that should be less of an issue as time passes. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2018) — 12 days ago

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Bevan Cellars

Ontogeny Oakville Red Wine 2015

Delectable Wine
9.6

There is no issue at all with tasting the 2015 Ontogeny, Bevan's entry-level wine, after all the big guns. If anything, the tasting order simply shows what a great wine this. Expansive aromatics lead into a core of rich, pliant fruit in this sweeping, dramatic wine. Readers who don't want to splurge on the higher-priced offerings will do just fine with the Ontogeny. This is a tremendous showing. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2018) — 12 days ago

Brian, Gregory and 2 others liked this

Blankiet Estate

Paradise Hills Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Delectable Wine
9.8

The 2015 Proprietary Red is a model of total elegance and finesse. Lifted and aromatically expressive, but also quite deep, the 2015 is another wine that is surprisingly fresh and vibrant. Aromatically expressive and nuanced, the 2015 is silky and plush on the palate, yet also remains remarkably tight on its feet. This is one of the most exquisitely beautiful, riveting wines I have tasted from Claude and Katherine Blankiet. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2018) — 12 days ago

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Plumpjack

Estate Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Delectable Wine
9.6

Plumpjack's Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is fabulous. Super-ripe red cherry, plum, lavender, spice and menthol are all beautifully knit together in this lush, voluptuous Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Aaron Miller has done a tremendous job retaining a good bit of freshness here. Rich, sensual and enveloping, the 2015 is an absolutely stellar wine in this vintage. Don't miss it. This is a superb example of the year at its best. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2018) — 12 days ago

Greg and "Odedi" liked this

Alejandro Bulgheroni Estate

Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Delectable Wine
9.7

A rich, voluptuous beauty, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Alejandro Bulgheroni has turned out beautifully. Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, mocha, licorice and spice notes are pushed forward in a racy, voluptuous Cabernet that hits all the right notes. Silky tannins add to the wine's plush, racy personality. Raspberry jam and lifted, floral notes add striking perfume on the expressive finish. What a gorgeous wine this is. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, March 2018) — 12 days ago

Greg and La liked this