2018 Krupp Brothers, The Doctor, Red Blend, Stagecoach Vineyard, Napa Valley.
On a brilliant sunny crisp winter day I ventured out to the Krupp Brothers estate off Napa’s Silverado Trail to taste their latest releases and catch with this small high end label that has largely been focused on rich mountain Cabernet Sauvignon(s) since it was established in the 1990s by Jan Krupp, who was responsible for the heroic effort in creating the famous Stagecoach Vineyard. These new, mainly 2018 vintage, wines are a stunning set of offerings, and interestingly, as great as the Cabernet Sauvignon is, I found myself drawn to their gorgeous Cabernet Franc bottling called the Synchrony and this thrilling Tempranillo based wine, that is very much a Ribera del Duero meets Napa styled red. This youthful wine is really starting to come alive with compelling opulence and vinous fruit density with a deep purple/garnet color and heady aromatic leading the way to a rich full bodied and structured palate, it shows loads of dark fruit including layers of blackberry, plum, cherry and a touch of blueberry that are accented by toasty oak, sandalwood, licorice, crushed stones, delicate florals, cigar box and lingering mure liqueur. The Doctor opens beautifully in the glass and its texture is outstanding and mouth coating, it is a wine to pair with a meal, which would smooth out its tannins and allow all of its complexity to show through, even with just a few hard cheeses in the tasting it performed brilliantly, this is a standout and intriguing wine. Tempranillo is a Napa Valley rarity with just about 12 acres planted and has been a tough varietal to grow or get a handle on, but this is awesome stuff and well worth chasing down.

The 2018 Doctor Red Blend is made from 64% Tempranillo, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec and 6% Petit Verdot all from Stagecoach Vineyard on the eastern side of the Napa Valley between Pritchard Hill and Howell Mountain, which is set on almost pure rock formed by ancient volcanic activity, it was an incredibly hard site to plant for the Krupps, but is now one of the most prized vineyards in the region. The hand harvested grapes used in The Doctor red saw a three day cold soak and was macerated on the skins for close to four weeks, after which, once primary fermentation finished in was then racked to high end French oak barrels for aging. The elevage lasted a total of 19 months and was done with about 50% new oak with a mix of cooperage, including Taransaud and Francois Freres barriques that add a smoky sweet framing to this big wine. Once fully open this wine turns on the charm and shows off its class with the addition of a warm chocolately note and more of an exotic spiciness, making this wine, which clocks in at about 15% natural alcohol, great with duck, meat dishes and or leg of lamb. There is a lot to admire in this wine and the full lineup at the Krupp Brothers, I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit, taste and tour in this idyllic setting, so I must thank Ms Nicole Lincoln, Director of Hospitality & Regional Sales Manager for the Krupp Brothers, for being such a gracious host and taking me in on short notice. It should also be noted these wines are now being made by the talented Desiree O’Donovan, who has been with the Krupps for a while now, after working behind the scenes at a few notable wineries, and who is taking this winery to impressive new heights and giving these wines their elegance and balance!
($100 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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