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Premiere Napa Valley is always a first glimpse into what the future of a vintage has in store for us. The events this past week confirmed what we’ve been hearing from our vintner and winemaker friends for a while … that 2013 is another outstanding vintage across the board for the Napa Valley. The wines in general were intense, complex and delicious.

A few that stood out for me were:


BRYTER Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard, Kari Auringer winemaker, very bright, red fruit aromas followed by a lush texture and long enjoyable finish, very impressive first release.


KATA Red wine, “Benny’s Blend,” winemaker, Benoit Touquette, from the Bjorn Vineyard (formerly known as Hayne Vineyard) in St. Helena, this is a blend of 65 percent cabernet sauvignon and 35 percent petit verdot! With this vineyard’s heritage and Benoit’s stellar reputation, why would anyone question this blend. It is delicious!


Fairchild Stones #2, Philippe Melka, winemaker, 100 percent cabernet sauvignon form the Perrarus-Houyi Vineyard on Pritchard Hill. This wine was off the hook and still ringing!

Arrow & Branch red wine, Jennifer Williams, winemaker, a blend of 52 percent estate cabernet franc, 40 percent cabernet sauvignon, 2.5 percent merlot and half a percent of petit verdot. The aromatics alone are worth the price of admission for this wine. The aromatics are followed by a lush mouthfeel and lingering finish. For people who enjoy well-crafted blends, this is a must-have.

Villa Del Lago Cabernet Sauvignon, this vineyard is located on Pritchard Hill and Gerard Zanzonico is the winemaker. Intense forward fruit with complexity and minerality in the finish. Another fantastic first release from a new project by the Del Dotto Family.

Barbour Cabernet Sauvignon, Celia Welch, winemaker. Jim Barbour is without question one of the most respected vineyard managers in the Napa Valley. His estate vineyard in St. Helena is the source for this fantastic cabernet sauvignon. This wine is much like a great book … beginning, middle and end, and it keeps your attention from start to finish. A world-class wine, no question.

There were far too many great wines to mention them all but it is fair to say that this event showed the most consistently well-made wines I have witnessed at any time anywhere. Congratulations to all.

David Stevens is co-owner with his wife, Monica, of St. Helena’s 750 Wines.

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