If you are looking to serve a special wine this holiday season or want to give a thoughtful gift to a wine lover in your life, look to Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to make an impression. Whether you want a wine to serve for an elegant holiday dinner, a bottle to take to a special holiday party, or something for your boss who happens to be a wine aficionado, this list is all you need. This is not just any list, here you will find small, off the grid wines that are produced in small quantities by some of the best winemakers in Napa Valley. These wines are perfect holiday wines, elegant structured and very food friendly.
Why Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon? First I refer you to my article on why Napa Valley is so special, just click here. Napa Valley simply stands apart because of its exceptional soil and climate, the terroir is so unique that many winemakers say that the wines make themselves. The region produces more consistently good wine than anyplace else in the world. It’s a region that exudes fun, elegance, luxury and ultra premium wines. All qualities that make Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons a perfect gift. These 8 exceptional wines will put you in the celebratory mood for the holidays.
With Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, there is a price point to suit every budget making them great for gift giving. These 8 wines are produced by small off the grid wineries. Several of these vineyards are entirely family owned and operated. The wines are handcrafted and artisanal in style and quality. Some of these wines are hidden gems waiting to be discovered. They will surely be story worthy at your next holiday party or for a gift for someone special.
Best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for a large party (Under $30)
Hindsight Vineyards is the creation of 5 people, with over 100 years of cumulative experience, who have a passion for wine, coming together with the ambitious goal to make world-class, yet reasonably priced wines. Hindsight strives to make affordable Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. As a small boutique wine producer, they stay true to their vision of making sustainably produced, world-class, yet reasonably priced, Napa Valley wine.
This lush, full-bodied wine shows black cherry and currant flavors and aromas with hints of vanilla, oak, coffee and cocoa. The luscious dark fruit flavors combine with elegant structured tannins to create a wine with great weight, mid-palate, with a long, lingering finish.
Best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for intimate holiday dinners (Under $60)
Founded in 1990 by Rudy and Rita Von Strasser, this distinctive diamond-shaped label and eponymous brand has become synonymous with great Cabernet Sauvignon bottling. Over this time, the brand exclusively bottled wines from within this AVA gem, and was named ‘Winery of the Year’ by Wines and Spirits Magazine for an unprecedented 14 times.
This wine offers aromas of dark fruit (blueberry and blackberry) and leather, with flavors of licorice, coffee, pomegranate and subtle earthy undertones.
Alta is a small family owned and operated vineyard and winery. When founder Fred Oliai first laid eyes on the 90+ acre Alta Vineyard, he instantly recognized the magic and the amazing potential of the site. They maintain a deep respect for the land, restricting the use of chemicals and fertilizers. Intense hand farming, gentle fermentation and old world cellar practices all combine to yield exceptional results.
Though not a pure Cabernet Sauvignon, this is an exceptional blend of four classic Bordeaux varietals(Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot) grown on the mountain sides of four exceptional Napa Valley estates.
Smith Madrone wines are made entirely from dry-farmed estate vineyards surrounding the winery on top of Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. Stuart Smith chose specific slopes with different exposures for specific varietals when planting the vineyards, specifically southern and western exposures across flat stretches for the Cabernet Sauvignon. Stu was named one of the wine industry’s most inspirational people in January 2018. (Link to Wine Industry Advisor).
This wine opens with a concentrated nose of dark fruits, leading with notes of boysenberry and plum. The palate is remarkably seamless, an elegantly integrated mouthful with a velvety, silky texture which leaves you realizing how winemaking can ‘distill’ a grape into a powerful perfume, the essence of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for Holiday Gifts ($120-$200)
With Metaphora each bottle is a meditation on wine as art – utilizing the best grapes from Napa Valley’s most famed vineyards, and dedicated to excellence in winemaking. Each vintage is handcrafted and made in limited quantities to ensure that quality is never compromised. The first vintage of Metaphora Cabernet Sauvignon was a collaboration with acclaimed winemakers Chuck and Joseph Wagner of renowned Caymus Vineyards, and continues today in the hands of present winemaker, Mark Herold.
This Cabernet Sauvignon is polished, soft, wellrounded, and elegant with expressive layers of dark red and black berries, vanilla, dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, tobacco, and ends with a long, pure silky finish.
Merus began as the quintessential “garage wine,” made by Merus founders Erika J. Gottl and Mark Herold in the two-car garage behind their home in the town of Napa. The wine won international renown starting with its first vintage in 1998, but the garage imposed serious limitations. When William Foley brought Merus into his Foley Family Wines group at the end of 2007, one of his first goals was to find a Napa Valley winery site worthy of the brand. Now the fully updated winery includes custom-made winemaking equipment and 7,000 square feet of caves for barrel storage.
A singularly delicious bottle of wine. Deep dark fruit aromas lure you into the glass. There’s a hint of something akin to dark chocolate and cocoa before it opens up to reveal classic black currant and berry syrup aromas.
Best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons for Wine Lover ($200+)
Stewart Cellars begins and ends with family. They are dedicated to making something tangible and enduring, something expressive of each person’s gifts. Founded in 2000, Stewart Cellars is the collaborative project of founder Michael Stewart, his son James Stewart, daughter Caroline Stewart Guthrie, and son-in-law Blair Guthrie. Together, the family oversees all aspects of the winery’s operations. The new 2016 NOMAD Collection features beautiful, limited production, vineyard designate wines from Beckstoffer’s To Kalon, Bourn, Las Piedras, Georges III, Dr. Crane and Missouri Hopper Vineyards.
The Dr. Crane Cabernet Sauvignon is one of Stewart’s most deeply layered wines. The flavors of vanilla, blackcurrant, and coffee accent the silky tannins and the plush, velvety mouth-feel. With multiple layers of new French oak and a long, layered finish.
Yount Ridge Cellars sits at a true mid-point in Napa Valley, producing single vineyard wines that meld time, place and winemaking expertise. Celia Welch is one of Napa Valley’s top winemakers, having made wine for Scarecrow, J. Davies, Kelly Fleming, and Staglin to name a few. Celia was named one of Forbes Top Ten Tastemakers of 2006 and inducted into the Winemakers Hall of Fame by the national educational organization, Women for Winesense.
The aromas on this cellar worthy Cabernet are forward and intense, showing blueberry, cranberry, a hint of rhubarb and raspberry. The entry is balanced, soft yet solid. The finish is dense and structural.