2016 Paradigm, Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Estate, Napa Valley.
The 2016 vintage of Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon, which is all sourced from the estate vines in Oakville, is a beautiful, opulent and luxurious wine, which you’d expect from a Heidi Barrett made Cabernet, and it has classic Napa fruit density, a deep purple hue in the glass and exceptionally long aftertaste with a cascade of black fruit on the full bodied palate along with a kiss of sweet toasty oak. This vintage, which is ripe and overtly expressive is one that Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon lovers will want to stock up on, and especially wines like this Paradigm, which is a savvy choice for collectors, as the price is not as outrageous as many wines in this quality class, which now tend to be closer to $250 to 300 a bottle. The Paradigm Cabernet delivers an array of flavors and opens nicely with lavish creme de cassis, blackberry, plum and sandalwood lead the way here along with pencil lead, licorice and smoky vanilla accents that flow with graceful polish in the richly packed mouth, while the firm tannins never intrude on the fun and pleasure delivered by this polished example of pure Napa Valley goodness. I will note, that this wine has more potential to come and I believe there is a more rewarding future ahead it, look for it’s best drinking window to come in a decade or so. Paradigm also makes four other wines of merit, these include a Merlot, Cabernet Franc, a new Vin Gris, a kind of Bordeaux inspired Rosé of Merlot and a Zinfandel which are all interesting and well crafted offerings, even though most will focus with laser like intensity on their Cabernet Sauvignon.

Paradigm Winery, founded in 1991, is owned and run by Ren and Marilyn Harris, who as noted by the their winery, have deep roots in Napa Valley, going back to when Marilyn’s grandparents immigrated from Italy to Napa Valley in 1890, while Ren’s family came to California in 1769. The pair themselves moved to Napa Valley full time back in the 1960’s and settled into their home in Oakville just east of where Paradigm is located. As I have noted over the years reviewing (and enjoying myself) the Paradigm Estate Grown and bottled Cabernet Sauvignon has been made by Heidi Barrett since day one, and the Paradigm winery is one of the great small estates in the Napa Valley, located within the Oakville AVA, home too many awesome vineyards and labels. Barrett, with her experience, including of course with Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Grace Family, Hartwell and Vineyard 29 to name just a few, over the years, makes her one of the most respected winemakers in the Valley, Barrett knows a thing or two about putting a fabulous Cabernet together. Barrett, along with Cathy Corison, the first woman to be an owner and winemaker in the Napa Valley, as well as other pioneers like Celia Welch, Pam Starr, Helen Turley, Rosemary Cakebread, Zelma Long and Mia Klein to name a few, has helped the wine industry in California end its tired and caustic chauvinistic attitude toward women in leadership roles and elevated the respect for women winemakers in America. This 2016, which was aged in French Oak barrels for twenty months, and then rested nearly two years in bottle before release, is right up there with the magnificent 2010, the last one I reviewed, reminding me I need to keep up with this winery!
($75-92 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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