- BlendCabernet Sauvignon
- WinemakerJon Priest
- AppellationNapa Valley
- VineyardMorisoli Vineyard in Rutherford, Vine Hill Ranch in Oakville, Meteor Vineyard in Coombsville, and Schoenstein Vineyard
- Farming MethodOrganic Practices
Etude Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2018
Etude is a long-standing favorite producer of ours, and this cabernet sauvignon just might be the best we’ve ever tasted from the estate. 96 points for Napa cabernet is rare enough, but when that wine comes in way under $100...rarer still!
Etude was founded in 1982 by Tony Soter, an already famous winemaker who had just recently left Chappellet Vineyard up on Pritchard Hill to begin his own project. Set in the cool and windy Carneros AVA, the focus of the winery was pinot noir, and they make some of Napa’s best to this day. But you almost have to make Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon, and as Tony already had experience making some of Napa’s best, Etude started securing fruit from elsewhere around the valley. Today, their preferred cabernet fruit comes from the benchlands across Napa Valley – with a fair bit of Rutherford and Oakville in the mix. Coombsville – with its cool climate and volcanic soils – also supplies a good chunk of cabernet for this wine...and the signature, Bordeaux-esque graphite note really shines as a hallmark of this region.
Jon Priest has made Etude wines since 2005, at the request of Etude’s founder and long-time winemaker, Tony Soter. Tony made a remarkable choice when it came to his successor, and over the years, Etude has remained as one of the most consistent, high-end producers in all of Napa Valley.
This lusciously rich wine swells with aromas of lilac, cocoa powder, Tahitian vanilla, and blackberry pie. The palate is impeccably smooth, with velvety mouth-filling mocha, crushed raspberry, creme de cassis, bay, black pepper, the aforementioned graphite, and sensuous French oak stylings. It’s fruit-forward too, but never overbearing and seamlessly integrated. This is just entering its prime, but expect another decade-plus of exceptional drinkability. For a Napa cab of this pedigree – this is simply remarkably well-priced. You’d do well to grab a few bottles and drink them with delight over the next decade-plus!
PAIRING IDEAS: This has me simply drooling for a burger. Saint Helena’s Farmstead Restaurant makes one of the valley’s best...but it’s not the one on their menu! Next time you're in town, order from the secret menu – just ask for “The Highlander” and thank me later!!