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Vintage Charts

California/Cabernet Sauvignon
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Vintage Grid Back to 1961
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Vintage NapaSonoma Drink Rec Description
201789–9388NYRDrought broke over the winter, with lots of vegetation and healthy vines to start the season. Good growing season turned wickedly hot in early September, with no cooling-off period, then wildfires raged in early October, raising the specter of smoke taint. Napa’s most difficult season in recent memory
20169788HoldThe final drought-influenced vintage of the run since 2012, this time without serious heat spikes. Rockier soils and drier spots ripened first, while heavier soils allowed for longer hang time. Wines show intense fruit against the backdrop of their varying terroirs; crop still down from normal
20159490Drink or holdThe fourth drought-influenced year in a row, plus a cold spell during flowering led to significantly lower yields. The smaller crop ripened quickly, though, with picking beginning in August. Quality is high but more variable than 2016 or 2013, as sugars sometimes raced ahead of phenolics
20149591Drink or holdHeavy rains in February and March gave the vines an early boost—though not enough to break the drought—and from there warm, dry conditions led to an early harvest. Quality is very consistent, with the wines showing power and depth, as well as extra aromatic range. A beautiful vintage with a distinct signature
20139789Drink or holdPractically a flawless growing season, with moderate temperatures throughout and no heat spikes or rain. Earliest harvest in 25 years started in August, but Indian summer conditions allowed growers to pick blocks as they wanted through late October. Wines brim with fruit and structure. A no-brainer benchmark
20129692Drink or holdThe first of California’s drought-influenced run and a welcome return to warm, dry conditions following the rain-marred 2011 season. Record-sized crop with many stars; a solid vintage across the board marked by a tannic spine that will age well
20118683Drink or holdRare rainy harvest proved it can happen; few sunny spots, variable quality
20109689Drink or holdCool, steady year; wines show exceptional quality, tight, dense and layered
20099685Drink or holdLate, cool year yielding a surprise bounty of pure, opulent wines
20089686Drink or holdFrost year lowered yields but not quality; unique for its depth and concentration
20079788Drink or holdTextbook year; small crop, ideal ripening, wines defined by complexity and plush tannins
20069587DrinkA late, cool harvest produced dense, concentrated and ageworthy wines
20059283DrinkRecord-size crop; best are elegant and balanced, yet many are tannic and drying out
20049584DrinkSmall crop of exceptional quality; ripe, elegant, concentrated and harmonious
20038583DrinkUneven ripeness; austere and tannic in style. More like 2000 than 2001 or 2002
20029382DrinkSuperb in Napa; dense and rich, rivaling 2001 for depth and complexity
20019387DrinkExcellent weather; many stunning wines but also a few disappointments
20008581DrinkMixed and a bit green overall, but some stellar wines that may be overlooked and undervalued
19999787DrinkTremendous depth, concentration and structure from a cool, moderate year; ageworthy
19988482Past peakCool, damp year with mostly green, herbal wines marked by gritty tannins; few memorable bottles
19979990DrinkHuge crop of ripe, opulent, fleshy, concentrated wines, from near-perfect weather; super in Sonoma, too
19969688DrinkA sleeper, with a remarkable number of compelling wines; warm year with fine concentration and depth
19959786DrinkSurprisingly fine year, with wines marked by great flavors, balance and structure
19949788DrinkA showy year all around; ripe, complex and fleshy, with excellent depth
19938888DrinkJust off the pace, with well-balanced, supple wines; a few stars
19929386DrinkFine growing season led to uniformly rich, fleshy, supple and balanced wines
19919186DrinkBig crop, ripe and complex; a star early on, only to be eclipsed by others this decade
19908986DrinkSmall crop but many deeply concentrated wines that have aged well
19898581Past peakBig crop, cool year with rain at harvest; earthy, diluted flavors
19888383Past peakSmall crop; simple wines
19879587Past peakSmall crop, early harvest; best wines mix ripe flavors with fine structure
19869687Past peakA big crop with intense, richly flavored wines
19859787Past peakRipe, rich and fleshy, with superb balance

Vintage ratings: 95-100, classic; 90-94, outstanding; 85-89, very good; 80-84, good; 75-79, mediocre; 50-74, not recommended

A score range indicates preliminary analysis based on barrel samples and/or a limited sampling; many wines of the vintage not yet reviewed.

Drinkability: "NYR" means the vintage has not yet been released; "drink" means most of the wines of the vintage are ready to drink; "hold" means most of the ageworthy wines have yet to fully mature; "past peak" means most of the wines are declining rather than improving.


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