Somewhat Affordable Cult Red Wines – “Cult” is rooted in the Latin “Cultus”, meaning “to worship or give reference to a deity”.
What makes people “worship” Cult Wine? It is because of its generally high quality and price, plus the highly limited supply.
From grape production to selection, fermentation, and the choices of oak barrels, every single step is strictly examined, and hence assuring good quality.
Somewhat Affordable Cult Red Wines – Most Cult Wines are produced in the Napa Valley of California.
No one knows exactly who coined the term “cult” wine, but we do know that it was first used in the 1990s to describe California Cabernet Sauvignon blends, in particular those from Napa Valley, that sold for outrageously high prices.
Somewhat Affordable Cult Red Wines – Opus 1
Bordeaux Red Blends from Oakville, Napa Valley, California 2018
$365 a bottle
Initial dark fruit, spice and baking aromas in the 2015 Opus One are interwoven with seductive notes of violet, black tea, and sage.
The entry is vibrant with ripe dark fruit flavors of plum, blackberry and blueberry followed by hints of vanilla and cocoa.
Silky, fine-grained tannins provide structure and a creamy texture.
The wine finishes with fresh acidity and a rich, lingering finish that promises longevity in the cellar.
Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon 81%, Cabernet Franc 7%, Merlot 6%, Petit Verdot 4%, Malbec 2%
Somewhat Affordable Cult Red Wines – Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Cabernet Sauvignon from Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California
$375 a Bottle
Hillside Select is a wine of a place, sourced from carefully selected blocks of Stags Leap District hillside vineyards.
These grapes are small and deeply colored, with concentrated flavors enhanced by meticulous winemaking and extensive aging in French oak barrels.
Hillside Select consistently expresses the voluptuous fruit, rich flavors, and velvety texture that characterize grapes grown in this renown AVA.
2018 Hillside Select is an enticing balance of opulence and energy.
This classic Cabernet Sauvignon fills the glass with vivid aromas of blackberry, black cherry, warm earth, and baking spice.
The flavors richly echo the wine’s aromas, adding juicy layers of summer briar fruit, berry compote, cinnamon, lively red and black plums, and mocha with a long, radiant finish.
Structured tannins offer the promise of a lengthy, sumptuous tenure in your cellar.
Schrader LPV Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Oakville, Napa Valley, California
$385 a Bottle
The immense 2019 Schrader LPV offers a heady wallop of wild blueberries, blackberries, and cassis fruit character with captivating notes of mesquite, espresso, rich chocolate, black tea, tobacco, graphite, and forest floor.
Complex and complete, the wine is full-bodied with generous, plush fruit flavors that continue to expand on the palate and carry on at full force to the indulgently long, expressive finish.
Grown on the gentle slopes of West St. Helena, the vines endure the added stress of the rocky soils to produce wines of exceptional concentration and formidable structure.
Somewhat Affordable Cult Red Wines – Lokoya Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Cabernet Sauvignon from Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, California
$475 a Bottle
Surfers talk about the combination of force, sound, concentration, energy, exhilaration, and spiritual connectedness that comes from catching a great wave and riding it to completion.
The 2018 Mount Veeder is Lokoya’s version of the perfect wave. With energy to spare on the uplifted palate and power and depth like no other, you’ll be stoked with every sip.
This Cabernet Sauvignon shows lifted aromatics marked by Veeder floral notes.
On the palate, it is evocative of Asian spice and blue fruit, with post-rain minerality.
This wine is elegant with a backbone of tannin that goes on forever. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder was aged in French oak barrels for 22 months, 94% new.
Deep garnet-purple colored, it soars out of the glass with vivacious scents of black cherries, black raspberries and black currant pastilles, followed by nuances of pencil shavings, tilled earth, lilacs and underbrush plus a waft of crushed rocks.
The full-bodied palate is taut, packed with muscular, impactful black fruits, featuring a rock-solid backbone of firm, grainy tannins, finishing with a whole firework display of earthy/minerally sparks.
Give it a good 4-5 years in bottle and drink it for the next 25+ years.
Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
$500 a Bottle
Sourced from block C2 for over 20 years, the latest vintage is one of the strongest expressions of this Oakville site and its unique terroir.
Densely saturated crimson in its appearance, the wine opens with complex aromas of crème de cassis, sweet tobacco, and scents of lavender and violets.
A mélange of huckleberry, dark cherry and black plum are delineated on the palate alongside hints of grilled herbs and savory spices.
Framed by supple tannins and an underlying mineral acidity, our 2018 finishes with grip and tension.
Deep garnet-purple in color, the nose of the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard starts off with soft-spoken scents of ripe red and black plums, cassis, black raspberries and mulberries, followed by gentle wafts of cedar and pencil lead and finally bursting out with Sichuan pepper and hoisin notes.
The medium to full-bodied palate is opulent, plushly textured and brimming with spicy red and blackberry layers, going beautifully perfumed on the long finish.
Paul Hobbs mentioned that he backed off on the new oak this year, aging the wine in 85% new French oak (as opposed to 100%).
688 cases were made.
Somewhat Affordable Cult Red Wines – Harlan Estate The Maiden Proprietary Red 2018
Napa Valley California
$575 a Bottle
Dark ruby, deep core, purple reflections, discreet brightening on the rim.
Spicy bouquet with fine notes of fine oak, ripe black cherry, tobacco nuances, delicate nougat and candied orange, a discreet floral note.
Not quite as complex as the Grand Vin, but very lively, finely-meshed and accessible, the Merlot share in the cuvée gives the wine an appealing suppleness.
Somewhat Affordable Cult Red Wines – Colgin Tychson Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon from St. Helena, Napa Valley, California
$700 a Bottle
A great marriage of aromas of the soil and the dark fruit flavors I associate with this vintage.
There is a dark black licorice aroma coming from the Cabernet Franc.
Gravel, soapstone, talc and especially graphite round out the nose, giving it its sense of place.
The purity of aroma is striking and very tempting.
There is a meaty side to the wine, of grilled steak and even savory jerky.
More memorable than the nose, is the texture of the wine on the palate.
Upon first sip, the tannins are both silky and full bodied.
The fresh acidity brings a juicy quality to the wine.
With tannins that are both round and plump, this wine is just delicious.
The lingering structure from the tannin proves the pedigree of the wine.
Somewhat Affordable Cult Red Wines – Hundred Acre Few and Far Between
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
$750 a Bottle
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Few and Far Between is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc.
Medium garnet in color, it comes bounding out of the glass with exuberant notes of dried cherries, boysenberry preserves, blackcurrant pastilles and charcuterie with hints of chocolate mint, rose oil and licorice, plus a waft of cardamom.
The rich, full-bodied palate is tightly knit and youthful, delivering great tension among the layers upon layers of minerals, black fruits and floral notes, finishing very long and incredibly perfumed.
Somewhat Affordable Cult Red Wines – Harlan Estate Red 2016
Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
$1,600 a Bottle
This wine, which first debuted in 1990, has probably garnered more perfect scores than any other Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2016 is just entering a young adolescent stage of development, exhibiting extraordinary nuances such as sweet, loamy soil and earthy minerality intermixed with some background smoke, black currant liqueur, plum, Asian spice and new saddle leather.
Full-bodied, it possesses great intensity, with stunning flavors that are viscous enough to coat the mouth, but never become heavy or overbearing.
The wine has a remarkable purity, concentration and intensity that should carry it for another 30+ years.
This is already very promising, and for those who own it, I would suggest a good two to three hours of decanting prior to service.
An open-throttle style that flirts with perfection.
Ripe, firm, dense, concentrated, complex, focused and persistent, riding a wave of ripe currant, black cherry and mineral notes.
Gains velocity and length.