Let’s think for a moment about that wine you would like to give as a gift — to your future in-laws, perhaps, or the boss, or a colleague who’s gone above and beyond. Where do you begin?
I’m thinking about a wine with some prestige; a wine that the recipient won’t have to Google to understand; a wine that can be enjoyed now but that can also be put away; a “serious” wine but one that is not ostentatious.
I’m thinking about the 2018 Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon from Newton Vineyard in California’s Napa Valley.
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This $59 offering from one of Napa’s more prominent wineries is squarely in the middle of the price spectrum for California Cabs and has a refinement and elegance that I expect from wines in this category.
Aromas of red fruits are followed by concentrated dark berry tastes, especially blackberry and cassis, accented by notes of baking spices and cedar. With its fine tannins and well-integrated oak — aging was mostly in previously used French barrels — it would pair wonderfully with filet mignon, leg of lamb, and other festive dishes.
The blend is 97 percent Cabernet Sauvignon with small percentages of Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. The fruit is sourced from Newton’s estate vineyards, farmed organically, in the Spring Mountain, Mt. Veeder, and Yountville appellations of Napa. Alcohol is listed at 14 percent.
As the label says, it’s unfiltered, which can make wines more expressive, and you’ll find a bit of harmless sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Young and slightly enclosed at first, the wine opens up as you swirl it in the glass. It would benefit from decanting.