2016 David Arthur Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Three Acre, Pritchard Hill, Napa Valley.
One of the elite Napa Cabs, the David Arthur Three Acre, comes from the best estate vines up on the very fashionable Pritchard Hill, an area known for the highest quality of the grapes and this 2016 is absolutely thrilling in style and substance, with incredible depth of fruit and purity of its dark and rich flavors. David Long the founder of David Arthur Vineyards has a lengthy history in Napa, starting with his dad who was savvy enough to collect a series of land parcels, including the expansive property overlooking Lake Hennessy in the hills on the eastern side of the famous Napa Valley not far from Chappellet, one of the pioneers of this special terroir. The Long family started visiting the Napa Valley in the 1950’s, and according to the winery, Don Long, a butcher by trade who owned a small grocery store in Portola Valley, near Stanford University and had long been interested in the California wine country and the wine scene had a keen eye for business opportunities, he began steadily investing in Napa Valley real estate. All of this led to the acquisition of nearly 1,000 acres of prime virgin land for vines atop of the noted Pritchard Hill in St. Helena. The 2016 Three Acre shows fabulous black currant, plum, blackberry and blueberry fruits as well as minty, menthol, anise, sandalwood, smoky vanilla, sweet lilacs, a touch of loam, red spices and iron, it really floods the full bodied palate with thick chocolatey smoothness, while retaining an inner energy and focused detail, very impressive for a wine of this heft and grip.
The David Arthur wines are now crafted by Nile Zacherle, a Marin native and a UC Davis grad, Nile, Long notes, has built a career producing award-winning wines from both Burgundian and Bordeaux varietals and has given the recent wines a more gentle and elegant profile, which really enhances the character and nature of the grapes that go into these wines, especially this 2016 Three Acre, which is a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon. Zacherle has added an extra dimension to David Arthur Vineyards and he continues to push quality through focused attention on the volcanic based soils, organic viticultural management and a minimalist approach in the cellar, all of which remind me of some of the world’s best, in particular wines like Chateau Pontet-Canet in Pauillac and Celia Welch’s Corra, one of my personal favorites. This limited special Cabernet Sauvignon Three Acre, which is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, using clone 337, 16% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Franc which was grown at higher elevation and has a bit longer hang time allowing for more intensity and grip as well as the ripe black fruits on display. This is a luxurious Cabernet Sauvignon, no question it is dense and saw almost 90% new French oak, but it is handling it all with grace and feels well structured, even at close to 15% natural alcohol it has sense of refinement and it really gets into its groove with prime rib, flank steak and robust cuisine. This is stuff that looks like it will have a long window of drinking, maybe two decades or more, if you have it, I think another 3 to 5 years will bring even more rewarding experiences.
($130-156 Est.) 94-96 Points, grapelive