2016 O’Shaughnessy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley.
The 2016 Napa Valley vintage is everything it was promised to be, especially when shown through an impression like this beautiful O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon which relies mostly on young-vine Cabernet from the Wools Ranch on Mt. Veeder as well as some coming off their Howell Mountain estate, which provides depth and character. This well made wine is wonderfully complex and lightly spicy with classic firm structure along with the modern dark fruit opulence we’ve come to expect from a Napa Cabernet. O’Shaughnessy’s Estate sits at 1,800 feet on the legendary Howell Mountain, not from the famous Dunn Vineyards, and was founded back in 1996 by Betty O’Shaughnessy Woolls And Paul Woolls. The estate has the talented winemaker Sean Capiaux making the wines, in fact he has overseen the planting of the vineyard and even selected numerous clones of Cabernet Sauvignon that was planted in the various vineyard sites, which are mostly mountain vineyard plots. O’Shaughnessy is focused on Cabernet, though they do a nice Chardonnay and a very limited Syrah in some years and intriguingly, according to the winery they have all seven of the historic Bordeaux varietals planted on property, including Cabernet Sauvignon and their blending varietals, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec, Carmenere, St. Macaire and Gros Verdot, the last two being extremely rare and are almost unknown even in Bordeaux itself!
The richly packed O’Shaughnessy 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley had a final blend of about 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 3% St. Macaire, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, that fills out all corners of the senses.This deep purple/inky wine that delivers an exceptional performance with a full bodied, black fruit driven and ripe tannin led palate with layers of blackberry, mocha, creme de cassis, plum and blueberry coulis along with hints of violets, licorice, smoky vanilla, sage and sweet tobacco notes. Sean, who has made wine in the past at Peter Michael, Jordan and Pine Ridge, uses an array of modern equipment, but follows a classic approach to his wines here, which are naturally fermented, get long elevage and are bottled unfined and unfiltered. These techniques, as noted by Capiaux, allows the character of the grapes and terroir of the O’Shaughnessy Estate vineyards to be the stars of the show, which in a vintage such as this proves his point to perfection. I have been a fan of Capiaux, who also does a great lineup of Pinots under his own label, and O’Shaughnessy for close to 15 years, so it was great to catch up with their latest releases with Luke Russ, their Commercial Director and long time Napa pro, these are very impressive wines, as good if not better than ever, in particular this brilliant bottling, that in fact rivals more elite Napa offerings at half the price. Drink this beauty over the next 10 to 15 years.
($80 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive