2018 The Critic Napa Valley Cabernet
The details for this wine are a little hard to suss out, but they are worth the sussing because the wine is that darn good.
Our tale today begins in 1913 when great-grandfather Opici founded a company importing Italian wines into the U.S. Unfortunately, Prohibition shut him down. But the company came roaring back in 1934 and they have continued as a family enterprise ever since, with a couple of accolades along the way: in ’34 grandfather Hubert Opici was named “An American Wine Legend” and, much closer to our time, in 2014 this family-owned company was named “importer of the year.”
One thing that many wine import companies eventually do is start making their own wine, both here and abroad. Hence this century-old family firm imports much wine (and spirits) that you would recognize, but by 2015 they also had their eyes set on Napa Valley and producing their own wine there. The result is the inaugural vintage, “The Critic,” is Opici’s scrumptious Napa Valley Cabernet:
Made from 50% mountain fruit and 50% Benchland, The Critic opens with loads of blackberry and black cherry fruit, backed up on the nose with a rich sense of baking spices – vanilla, cinnamon, touches of anise and Chinese five-spice powder. The palate is rich and unctuous, rounded and super smooth with the fruits suggested on the nose pulling right on through, making this wine a luxurious, all-in drinking experience.
The goal behind the wine’s name, The Critic, is to reflect back to a time when the beauty of a wine was simply in the eye of the beholder. Tasting a wine and deciding the merits of it for yourself and, in essence, becoming your own critic. Sounds like a laudable aim to me! Even better, they gave us one heck of a price break. Napa Cabernet rarely comes in under $20 anymore. Don’t miss your shot with this one!