On the Trail

NAPA VINTAGE GUIDE

Click on each vintage to see what we currently have in stock on our main website:

  • 2014 - Following up on a vintage like 2013 is nearly impossible. 2014 will just have to settle for being really, really good instead of legendary. Other old world regions would love to have these kind of problems. The wines are bright, vibrant, and relatively accessible at a young age but the structure to age is certainly there. While many try to liken it to ’12 or ’13 because they’re fresh in our minds, it deserves its own space and will reward those looking for a very solid vintage from Napa.

 

  • 2013 - There may never be enough superlatives to describe the heights of 2013 in Napa.  Called a “vintage of a generation” by Galloni and Parker dubbing it the best in his 37-year career, it is a vintage of across the board quality where structure, ageworthiness, complexity, and concentration are the names of the game. Top to bottom it is a vintage of absolute classics.  If there was a downside, it would be that they might take a while to reach their full potential, but perhaps that should be said with any vintage of this stature.

 

  • 2012 - The first of the drought vintages in California (’12 through ’16), the 2012s quickly laid claim to the best vintage since 2007 and rightfully so at the time. Rich, hedonistic, and vibrant wines, they were a complete 180 from the challenging ‘11s and cool-weather ‘10s.  There is no doubt they are big wines, but they are often stunning just for that reason, and in a style that is very easy to enjoy. This also led to across the board quality for most estates, so the values are just as exciting as the flagship wines in many cases.

 

  • 2011 - Cold, rainy conditions led to a very focused, cool, Bordeaux-like vintage for Napa. It is a wonderful counterpoint for the big, flashy vintages but a challenge nonetheless. Some of the mountain sites were quietly very successful and the vintage is often priced to move, so the savvy buyer can still find some wonderful, thrilling wines…even if the vintage isn’t as acclaimed top-to-bottom.

 

  • 2010 - A vintage of contrasts, it was an extremely cool but even season until late summer when temperatures jumped and the heat arrived.  The result is more often than not wines with terrific structure and definition that will demand patience. More of a classic style, it is not the up-front version of Napa that some love, but qualitatively it is up there with the great vintages. Very unique in these characteristics, many folks will love the definition and detail of these wines.

 

  • 2009 - An aromatic and perfumed complexity are the signatures of the 2009s, and the style is more immediate. The best of the wines will be ready to enjoy at a relatively young age which has many describing the vintage as “charming.” The entire season came down to heavy rains in October which forced the hands of many producers to harvest beforehand, but the raw materials were strong and the wines often turned out to be very strong renditions.

 

  • 2008 - Bordeaux varietals are considered one of the biggest successes in an vintage that seemed to throw everything it had at Northern California between early season frost and heat spikes. The wines themselves seem to show a bit of both—some intensely rich and big wines that navigated the heat, and some vibrant/restrained wines that highlight the low yields. A solid vintage, but hard to generalize for Napa in ’08.

 

  • 2007 - Often considered among Napa’s great vintages and the best since ’01 and ’02 before it, 2007 is celebrated for the consistent high quality across varietals and price-points, with wines that are approachable young and will also age without issue.  A ripe vintage for sure, but classically Napa and undeniably a great year for Bordeaux varietals.  2007 is full of wines that are easy to enjoy and have been coveted by collectors since release.

 

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