Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2014
Back in the 1960s that Napa’s earliest pioneers – Robert Mondavi, Joe Heitz, the Davies at Schramsberg, the Winiarskis at Stag’s Leap – made some of what would become Napa’s hallmark Cabernets. By 1976 in the famous “Judgement of Paris” these Cabs were besting the First Growths of Bordeaux.
Nowadays, the style of many Napa Cabernets has changed away from those gorgeous beauties of the 60’s and 70’s, growing bigger and more concentrated, with more oak and more alcohol. And there is nothing wrong with that – it is a style of wine that makes for great cocktailing.
But other producers have remained true to the vision of the early Napa pioneers, and faithful to the taste of Napa Cabernet. I don’t want to get into a discussion of “this Cabernet is better than that Cabernet” because I truly believe in loving that one that I’m with. Yet I also want to highlight the potential stylistic differences because I believe it leads to more hedonistic pleasure.
Long Meadow Ranch is one such winery producing elegant and profound Cabernet like those that won the judgement of Paris. There are many ways to call what they do – organic, biodynamic, responsible farming, farm to table, old school, terroir-driven, made in the vineyard – these are all buzzwords that float around the snobby wine world. But there is a simpler, time-honored definition of what they do: that the land should speak through the wines, and this is what gives us the most remarkable expression achievable in Napa Valley. That’s right, truly farm to table. It’s a statement that very few will ever say, let alone achieve. But yet here it is:
The 2014 Napa Valley Cabernet opens with a classic Napa expression of red fruits – bright Bing cherry, raspberries, traces of cranberry – that immediately mix with a whisper of cedar, Paulliac notes of gravel and wet stone, and a light brushing of spearmint. In other words, exactly like old school classic Napa in the likes of Heitz Martha’s vineyard. The taste follows suit, delivering immediate fruit sensations to the front of the palate, but finishing with a freshness and balance that makes you want to take the next sip. Here is classic Napa Cabernet that’s perfect as a cocktail, but that shines even more with food, perfectly complementing such diverse dishes as bacon-wrapped monkfish, roasted marrow bones, or even a simple pork roast crusted with porcini mushrooms and finished with a five-spice powder glaze.
This is hallmark Napa complexity, delivered through the trifecta of Cabernet grapes, Napa soil and exceptional stewardship. Cheers, enjoy and happy holidays.