The October installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the the 2002 vintage. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened on Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.
By all accounts 2002 was an exceptional vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Following on the heels of the flashy 2001 vintage, a long dry Summer with some September heat spikes, led to an earlier than normal harvest. The top wines of the vintage are aging gloriously and should make twenty years of age assuming ideal storage conditions.
- 2002 Chateau Montelena “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon – This appears to be one of the great efforts from Chateau Montelena, something I think I was correct about when I gave it an ‘in the bottle’ rating in 2006 of 95+. It is still an amazingly young wine that came from old vines on the famous St. George rootstock that did not require replanting because of the phylloxera epidemic that swept through Napa in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Despite its lofty 14.4% alcohol (high by Montelena standards) and the overall flamboyance of the 2002 vintage, it needs another 4-6 years of cellaring. This young, classic Cabernet Sauvignon represents the quintessential traditional school of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. It possesses an inky/blue/purple color in addition to a tight, but promising nose of black currants, crushed rocks, earth and spice. Rich, full-bodied, pure and brilliantly executed, with perfect harmony, this is a sensational yet forebodingly backward, youthful Cabernet Sauvignon that needs 4-6 years of cellaring and should keep another quarter of a century. 96 points from the Wine Advocate (6/2012).
- 2002 Plumpjack Cabernet Sauvignon – The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is an amazingly rich, full-throttle effort boasting notes of blackberries, creme de cassis, acacia flowers, graphite and wood smoke. This massive effort tastes more like a mountain-styled Cabernet Sauvignon than one from the Oakville valley floor. 95 points from Wine Advocate (6/2012).
- 2002 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red – The nearly perfect 2002 Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and the rest dollops of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This exotic, full-throttle, nearly over-the-top red wine’s intensity, richness and smoky coffee notes intermixed with notions of chocolate, graphite, and jammy blackberry and black currant fruit ooze from the glass. This rich, concentrated beauty tastes more like a top-notch, young Right Bank Bordeaux from a vintage such as 2009 than a wine dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. With stunning purity and awesome potential, it can be drunk now or cellared for another two decades. 99 points from the Wine Advocate.
Which 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Should I Open?
- 2002 Plumpjack Cabernet Sauvignon (50%, 14 Votes)
- 2002 Chateau Montelena "Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon (32%, 9 Votes)
- 2002 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red (18%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 28
Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the November Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.