This Week's Must-Try Wines from Vinous

Welcome to this week's Vinous Top Ten! Each week we compile a list of top ten wines from the Vinous database that you need to add to your wine wish list. With all the various regions, producers, and grapes, no week will be the same! All of the wines listed in this feature are available for purchase on Banquet . This week's must-try wines are from Stephen Tanzer’s article Vintage Retrospective: The Great 2010 Napa Valley Cabernets . Enjoy an excerpt from his article and his notes for this week's top ten below! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ “The Vinous vintage chart rates 2010 as the top vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet between 1991 and 2013. As my recent retrospective tasting showed, the 2010s are overdelivering on their early promise. As I tasted through well over a hundred California Cabernets from the 2010 vintage this spring, with steadily building excitement, I could not help thinking of . . . the 2010 red Burgundies. Both sets of wines came from mostly cool growing seasons with serious climatic challenges (variable, sometimes stormy summer weather and a cool harvest with some rain in Burgundy, and sharp heat spikes on California’s North Coast in late August and September, the first of them particularly severe). On paper, neither season could be considered a no-brainer. And yet, in terms of the wines produced, both are spectacular at the level of the better producers: ripe but not overripe, dense but not heavy, and offering a potentially full range of the aromas (fruits, flowers, minerals, herbs, soil) inherent to their sites. The successful wines are classy, concentrated and delineated, savory as much as sweet, and firmly structured but not hard, thanks to fully ripe, broad tannins. Although both sets of wines are built for medium to long-term aging, they have never been particularly sullen or closed. It’s the rare 2010 Cabernet (or 2010 red Burgundy) that cannot be drunk with great pleasure right now—in some cases following a bit of aeration—and most of the wines are open today, if not downright beguiling. But to my palate, the most important characteristic that these two groups of wines have in common is something intangible: personality. They are wonderfully aromatic and endlessly fascinating.” --Stephen Tanzer, Vintage Retrospective: The Great 2010 Napa Valley Cabernets, May 2020 1. Chateau Montelena 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate 2. Dana Estates 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Hershey Vineyard 3. Dominus 2010 Dominus 4. Kapcsándy Family Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vin State Lane Vineyard 5. Kapcsándy Family Winery 2010 Roberta's Reserve 6. Lail Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvée 7. La Sirena 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon 8. Moone-Tsai 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Cor Leonis 9. Opus One 2010 Opus One 10. Vineyard 29 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon 29 Estate

Chateau Montelena

The Montelena Estate Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Delectable Wine
9.5

Bright red-ruby. Exceptional aromatic purity and complexity to the aromas of blueberry, cassis, cocoa powder, mocha, spices and minerals; some very ripe berry pie notes emerged with air. Wonderfully creamy, silky and deep; an utterly seamless wine with the underlying soil-driven minerality to energize and frame its fleshy flavors of dark fruits and spices. This is yet another 2010 whose impression of refinement belies the weather extremes of the growing season. Finishes with building but perfectly integrated tannins and outstanding length. This is already approaching its plane of peak drinkability but I'd still want to hold my bottles for at least a few more years. ("You really had to be a good farmer in 2010," noted Bo Barrett) (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, May 2020)
— a month ago

Lail Vineyards

J. Daniel Cuvée Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Delectable Wine
9.4

Full medium ruby. Mineral-driven, claret-like nose combines aromas of cassis, blueberry, espresso, dark chocolate, bell pepper and celery salt. Wonderfully savory if quite reticent on the palate, offering very suave, fine-grained flavors of black fruits, spices, tomato stem and herbs; I would have guessed that there was some Cabernet Franc here owing to the hints of licorice and violet. Not a particularly opulent wine but long on complexity and soil character. Make sure to decant this wine if you plan to open it soon, or, better yet, give it another few years of cellaring. (75% new oak; like many of her Napa Valley colleagues, Robin Lail described 2010 as a difficult growing season) (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, May 2020)
— a month ago

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Moone-Tsai Vineyards

Cor Leonis Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Delectable Wine
9.1

Dark red-ruby. Cool, slightly medicinal scents of blackberry, blueberry coulis, black cherry, bitter chocolate and menthol, plus a faint suggestion of cooked fruits. Fine-grained and dense but light on its feet on entry, with firm acidity and a touch of herbs enlivening the wine's dominant dark berry flavors. This firmly structured, slightly medicinal midweight could still use a couple more years to soften and put on more flesh; I found it a bit more gripping and youthful than the bottle of 2009 I tasted a year ago. Turned a tad dry and herbal with air. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, May 2020)
— a month ago

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Vineyard 29

Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Delectable Wine
9.4

Bright, dark ruby. Very dark, primary, restrained aromas of inky cassis, tar (from the Petit Verdot?), cocoa powder, crushed stone and scorched earth. At once fleshy and powerful, showing strong primary fruit for the vintage along with mineral and bitter chocolate notes. As dense and youthfully imploded as it is, this opulent Cabernet benefits from harmonious acidity and its firm, building tannins are not at all dry or hard. Finishes with outstanding thickness and length. This, too, will need time to reveal itself and is likely to be long-lived. Emerson described 2010 as "a big, structured, later-ripening year." (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, May 2020)
— a month ago

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Dana Estates

Hershey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Delectable Wine
9.5

Full ruby to the rim. Superripe, deep scents of cherry, mocha and gravel. As fine-grained and suave as the last two but enters the mouth with more obvious definition and mineral firmness, giving the middle palate more energy and thrust. Finishes with unmistakably powerful yet suave Howell Mountain tannins and outstanding slowly building length. Unlike the other two 2010s from Dana Estates, this very large-scaled wine really still needs a couple more years of patience. Good minerality and structure here, but still plenty of alcohol at 15.7%. Finishes with outstanding length and excellent lift. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, May 2020)
— a month ago

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Kapcsándy Family Winery

Grand Vin State Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Delectable Wine
9.8

Bright full ruby. Very dark nose combines black fruits, violet, graphite and river rock, plus subtle hints of molasses, tobacco and leather; less relentlessly primary than more recent vintages, but then 2010 widely produced explosive, complex, soil-driven aromas. This wine, too, shows a slightly liqueur-like quality yet seems less evolved than the Roberta's. Stunningly silky yet penetrating too, with its dark fruit, mineral and floral flavors conveying terrific vinosity and cut. A firm tannic spine gives this savory wine terrific grip on the palate-staining back end. A distinctly European style in the context of Napa Valley, with its outstanding flavor complexity aided by alcohol below 14%. (100% new French oak). (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, May 2020)
— a month ago

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La Sirena

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Delectable Wine
9.2

Youthful bright, full ruby. Crushed blackberry, black cherry, licorice, violet and a musky whiff of leather on the nose. Very suave and lively on entry, with intense black fruit and black olive flavors lifted by a floral element. The slightly funky quality on the nose is not apparent in the middle palate. Stands out for its finesse of texture, nicely restrained sweetness, juiciness and delineation of flavor, with its fruit element still quite youthfully vibrant. Finishes with a firm dusting of tannins, a repeating suggestion of wildness and excellent length and lift. Starting to unwind but there's still plenty of positive evolution ahead for this Cabernet, which is a blend from disparate vineyards in Napa Valley. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, May 2020)
— a month ago

Dominus Estate

Dominus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2010

Delectable Wine
9.7

Bright, deep ruby. Ineffable scents of dark berries, graphite, minerals, licorice, violet, dark chocolate and sage. Wonderfully suave, fine-grained and plush but light on its feet, and every bit as complex in the mouth as on the nose. Really impeccably balanced, classy wine with uncanny precision and inner-mouth aromatic lift and a resounding, endlessly building aftertaste that leaves the taste buds quivering. A wine of great finesse and energy, not to mention noble palate-saturating, fully ripe tannins. This is more about subtlety than weight, but is still hard to scrape off your palate. This already coats every square millimeter of the palate but may yet expand further. All of this fruit was harvested in October. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, May 2020)
— a month ago

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Kapcsándy Family Winery

Roberta's Reserve State Lane Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc 2010

Delectable Wine
9.5

Full medium ruby. Alluring floral lift to the aromas of black cherry, dark plum, licorice, cocoa powder and minerals; showed a slightly exotic hint of liqueur-like ripeness with aeration, possibly due to a bit of late dehydration of the fruit. Wonderfully sweet and plush, with its blue and black fruit, bitter chocolate and licorice flavors enlivened by graphite minerality. The wine's slightly high-toned character just contributes to its personality. This began with big, dusty tannins but harmonized nicely with air and became smoother, finishing with outstanding juicy cut and length. Still, I find it a bit clenched next to the Cabernet Grand Vin. I should note that when I originally tasted this wine shortly after its bottling, I described it as "perhaps the single greatest Merlot-based wine I have ever tasted from California." So I would not be at all surprised if it merited a higher score with more time in the cellar. (100% new French oak) (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, May 2020)
— a month ago

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Opus One

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2010

Delectable Wine
9.7

Bright dark ruby. Initially reticent nose opened in the glass to reveal wonderfully complex scents of black- and redcurrant, blackberry, minerals, licorice, loam and tobacco leaf, plus a whiff of leather. Seamless, savory and classy on entry if a bit subdued, then delivers lovely restrained sweetness and a complicating wildness in the middle palate that still calls for more bottle aging. Old World in its classic dryness, this highly concentrated Opus One really shines on its vibrant, slowly building back end, where the broad, dusty tannins caress and saturate the palate and allow the fruits and minerals to build. A wine of outstanding depth, clarity, finesse of grain and class; it's hard to imagine that this site could give more. Long-time winemaking director Michael Silacci noted that the estate did not strip leaves prior to the brutal August heat spike. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, May 2020)
— a month ago

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