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Barlow Vineyards Barrouge Cabernet

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Country/State California

Region Napa Valley



Type Cabernet

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When I first purchased this wine, the salesperson told me that it would be an odyssey, that I just needed to drink the whole bottle over a long period of time to achieve the entire, magnificent experience. That’s not a common sales pitch in the wine industry! But believe me – this magical Napa Cab entirely lived up to the hype.

The wine opens with an alluring and fascinating complexity of aromas – the fruits of Cabernet, black currants, fig, black cherry and plums; but also a wonderful sense of savory aromas of Cabernet– graphite, wet earth, thyme and rosemary. These come together on the palate in a seamless way that nicely flows into the tannin and acidity backing up the wine, giving it a full and powerful body. 

Indeed, it’s that sense of old-school Napa tannin coming together with a slightly lower alcohol content that makes me think of those earth-shattering, recording-winning Napa Cabs from the 1970s … you know, the ones that whipped the Frenchies at the“Judgment of Paris.” Glass after glass, the wine continues getting more and more complex, not revealing its utter deliciousness until, indeed, the final glass is gone.

And there you have it! An odyssey in Napa Valley Cabernet. Now to the background:

The Smith family came together in 1994 to farm a Cabernet vineyard in Calistoga, Napa Valley. Their first vintage was all of 25 cases, and as reported, it sold quickly! Twenty-eight years later, they’ve grown a little bit, now farming 50 acres, but all their wines are still 100% estate and 100% family-owned. That, and the amazing fact that they age their wines for you—please do note that this is a seven-year-old Cabernet right in its prime drinking window—makes this deal simply astonishing.

I am frequently asked, “What is a ‘hidden gem’ winery in Napa Valley? Someone who is making exceptional wine, but doesn’t price it as a tourist trap.” Well, here is my praiseworthy answer – Barlow Vineyards Cabernet 2015. Exceptional wine, aged for you, and at a fantastic price. Cheers and Happy Holidays!