2017 Whitehall Lane Rassi Vineyard Cabernet
Having visited Napa Valley many times, I think of it as a bit of a fairytale land for billionaires. And in this fairytale land, pride and prejudice of keeping up with the Joneses are at a premium. If the Joneses make a $175 Cabernet, then the Smiths need to make a $195 Cabernet, and then their friends the Johnsons have to make something even more expensive, and so on.
But I also see another side in Napa: those few longstanding, family-run, domaine-type wineries that have been in the Valley for a long time and can’t, or won’t, engage in this one-upmanship on price.
Consider Whitehall Lane, located in Rutherford, on the prime growing land of the Rutherford Bench. They’ve been around nearly four decades producing Cabernet on some of Napa’s best land. Just take a look at their neighbors – Corison, Opus One, George de Latour. Yet because they’ve been around so long they are penalized in Napa’s current high-flying climate. But for those who value what’s inside the glass, here is an outstanding Cabernet:
Whitehall Lane’s Cabernet is so enjoyable it compels me want to drink another glass. It has the classic ripe Napa fruit as well as a balanced, refined elegance. The initial aroma of cherry, currant and baking spices resolves into classic cocoa-powder finish with seamlessly integrated tannins. Whitehall Cabernet has always stood out to me among Cabs for its delicious cocoa and raspberry flavors and long, lingering finish.
Here is an iconic Cabernet producer holding the line on price, and delivering us a great single vineyard Cabernet for Christmas. Don’t miss it.