Which Bottles to Drink Now

Posted: March 1, 2016

We had such a blast recently exploring our library, tasting through some past vintages and marveling at our good fortune (and yours if you’ve been patient!).  The mystery of how a wine will fulfill the patience of cellaring is always exciting to us.  Spoiler alert here… we’ve made note of some of the standouts, so if you don’t want to know what we found, then stop reading now. But you’ll miss out on the good news: we dusted off a few cases of one of these gems and are extending a one-time opportunity to our faithful, patient members to buy a couple of bottles.

Choosing which wine from your cellar to drink now is a often a magical process of discovery, but still a subjective exercise. Our Winemaker Peter Heitz helps us navigate the ins and outs.

For Napa Valley red wines, Peter’s preference for maximum drinking pleasure lies between 5-10 years after the vintage date. “The sweet spot is different for every taster,” he says. “It’s not a matter of right or wrong, but instead understanding if you prefer the smooth textures, aged bouquet and flavors in older wines; or tend to prefer the hedonistic fruity charms, flavor density and more assertive tannins found in younger wines.”

With Peter’s 5-10 year optimal drinking window as a reference, we suggest wines from the 2006 to 2011 vintages as ones that fall within the “drink now” window. Our team’s recommendations for bottles to open and enjoy now:

’09 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (we’re releasing just 55 bottles of this library wine exclusively for our members!)
“It’s showing an incredible density of opulent fruit, wide texture and power. It’s incredibly hedonistic while showing freshness.  Definitely on top of its game with 7 years of estate aging.”

 ‘09 Amoenus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
“Showing that classic Calistoga dark fruit profile of dusted black berries, tree-ripened bing cherries and dark plums. The tannins are soft, flowing and the fruit density is stunning.  A delicious wine.”

’07 Fortuna Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
“A fantastic, benchmark vintage, where the wines possess both freshness and power. Texturally fascinating, singular site expression and joyous balance. This wine is at its peak for highlighting what that vineyard can do and say as the wine ages.”

And one to hold on to…
We tasted our ’10 Leopoldina Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon recently.  From a lauded vintage, a superb wine.  It’s drinking great now, while having tremendous future potential as well. “It’s action packed with astounding complexity that truly defines what Oakville represents – structure and texture in harmony,” Burroughs says. “However fun it might be to enjoy this one now, this is a bottle to push the limits of your patience with. There are dividends to be had by waiting another 5-15 years here.  Expect it to unwind itself and express its true beauty now or on some future occasion.”

Image credit: Molly DeCoudreaux