Fresh Off the Truck: Wine Access 2019 The Ringer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley [$250 for $35?]

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Wine Access has released a flurry of NDA wines lately. One arrived today and it's a winner. Not necessarily textbook Napa Cab but a beautiful unique wine in its own right...

  • "Think of some of the greatest Napa Cabernets of the 2010s—a decade of monumental releases from Screaming Eagle, Lail, Chappellet, and the like. Take away the marketing, the scores, the labels (and the three-digit prices), and you’re left with first-class Napa juice in a bottle—an unadorned expression of world-class terroir."

    We're looking for a less than famous producer...
  • "Today’s deal was triggered by a call from a fourth-generation winemaker whose Irish ancestors were among the original pioneers to uncover the greatness of Howell Mountain’s rich, red soils."

    The second I heard this I thought: O'Shaughnessy.
    But I don't think that's it.

    My next thought was "Who was that guy pouring high end Napa Cab at the Boston Wine Expo back in 2011? Was it William Cole?" Amazingly, I think that's it.
  • "Last year, he and his son started a new, luxury-level label dedicated to Cabernet grapes grown on a single seven-acre mountainside vineyard. Total production is less than 300 cases, and mostly allocated to a cadre of Napa power players.."

    This really sounds like Predecessor Estate.
This doesn't drink like a typical Wine Access NDA Napa Cab, but depending on your preferences that may be a good thing.

Most of their NDA Cabs are dark and brooding with a formidable wall of round tannins that are enjoyable now but suggest some aging. 

This wine is lighter than I'd expect for the category - about 40% opaque. It's ready to go aromatically - but with ripe strawberries over dusty briar patch and a hint of cinnamon stick rather than the brawnier notes you'd typically find in Cabernet. It's satisfyingly full bodied on the palate and finishes clean and luscious inviting another sip.

It drinks more like a high end new world Grenache than a Napa Cab. You know what it reminds me of? The 2007 Betts & Scholl Grenache "The OG".

Pretty wild. The kind of wine that's fun comparing notes with friends while tasting, and infinitely enjoyable.

92/100 WWP: Outstanding

Next up: A bottle of 2019 Yesterday Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. Check back soon for thoughts on that.


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