I profess up front that I love this wine! I prefer their white - the Dollarhide Ranch Sauvignon, but as a runner up the Napa Cab is a good wine to settle for. The reason that I love this wine, is that it is one of the half dozen wineries that we visited on my honeymoon, and of them, this one was the best tour. We must have liked it, because we ended up buying several bottles of the Sauvignon which we then lugged home with us in our luggage. That was my first encounter with St Supery.
Some years later I was working at Amaryllis and I managed to track down five cases of Sauvignon Blanc that one of our suppliers had been sitting on for some time, unable to flog it. I remember that it must have been around about 2001 and the vintage of the wine was 1996, by happy co-incidence the same vintage that we had brought back from California many years earlier on our honeymoon. He was grateful enough to shift it that I got a stunning price for it, I was over the moon to find it, and it turns out it was showing spectacularly well at the time too. I sold those five cases in a matter of weeks and they ordered some more for me. Then the stock ran dry and I couldnt get it any more.
A few years later Im trying to find it again, I get to emailing the winery in Napa and a very helpful lady called Ann Feely puts me in touch with their newly appointed distributors in the UK. I happened to meet the guy at the California tasting later that month and we chatted, I tasted the current range and he agreed to pop up to see me and introduce some more of his wines. Over a year passed before Adrian popped in one day introducing himself as the rep that was going to cover this region for Ivini. He didnt have good news though. St Supery had gotten greedy and had virtually doubled the price of the wine. Now it wasnt cheap to start with, but now facing a huge rise in price, it was quite frankly unsellable. The only consoling factor was they wanted rid of the stock they had, so we got a cracking deal on the Cabernet (alas they had no Sauvignon). We took five cases and now Ive got just under a dozen bottles left.
The first bottle I opened for the guests was corked. Badly corked. Foul, stinky wine. I cant remember the last time I had one that foul. The second was a beaut. Ripe curranty fruit on the nose with an elegant undernote of cedarwood and tobacco that I alway feel reminds me of a well kept humidor ( how I miss that now that we are non-smoking!). There was a touch of green herby aroma, possibly blackcurrant leaf. On the palate the tannins are softening nicely and the wine has loads of upfront fruit, again currants and brambles with a touch of plum and even a hint of mintyness. The finish is nice and spicy with warming exotic spices and tobacco, with a lingering length. Its on the list at £45, which for a Napa Cab is pretty damned good. Ill be sorry to see it go when I sell the last one.