The collapsing of Napa Cab price points

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Loren Sonkin
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The collapsing of Napa Cab price points

Post by Loren Sonkin » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:00 am

Lately (the last few months) I have been back into Napa Cabs. As I have been buying some all along (mostly lists), I have a nice supply of top end Cabs. I have been looking mostly at under $100. It seems the bottom end, say under $20, has gotten so that there are at least half a dozen or more that I would rank close to or at outstanding (or better). While I don't think they are at the same level of the Maybachs, Standing Stones, SHS, Scarecrow, etc., etc., I am not sure there is a significant difference between those cheapies and the ones I see in the $40 to $80 dollar range.

I am not finding the ones in that price range? If so, I would love some suggestions, especially at closer to $40 that deliver, if you will, a 93-94 point experience that would make it worth paying for them. For my money, wines like Phelps, Growth and some of the older standards are just not incrementally better than Martini, Buehler or Mondavi. This is based mostly on 06 and 07 vintages.

One I did like was the 07 Shafer 1.5, but at $75 Ohio, that is really at the top end. FWIW, I did not feel as strongly about the 06.

Tony Velebil
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Post by Tony Velebil » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:09 am

Loren - don't know what is in your marketplace, but I would look at something like the following:

Wolf "Phaedrus"
Ladera Napa Valley
Long Meadow Ranch
Ramey

And i don't know what these are going for these days but Larkmead, Lail's Blueprint, Seavey and Karl Lawrence

Jeff Leve
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Post by Jeff Leve » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:19 am

Loren... I think this will happen more and more. The good news for consumers is, there will be very few new cult wanna be wines. The worst thing that ever happened to the California Cabernet is the plethora of producers that started releasing their wines at $100 or more for debut vintages.

I tasted a few barrel samples from 2009 California wines from Jonathan Maltus that will retail for $40. These were strong wines. As you know, I am a Francophile and I'll buy some.

Steve Matthesen
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Post by Steve Matthesen » Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:38 pm

I still haven't seen the mailing list wines come down much. So far the cults appear to be hoping to ride out the storm...

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