Maker: Napa Ridge Winery, Napa, California
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork
Our Rating: 9 out of 10
We found Napa Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (Lodi, “Coastal Vines”) on the shelf for the incredible sale price of six bucks, and after tasting it we were tempted to leap in our car and see how many bottles were left in the store. We have to admit our bias toward fruit-forward reds that still offer complexity and a good finish. The Napa Ridge cab definitely matched those specs. (Those who prefer a less fruity, more European cab probably won’t like it as well as we did.) Its nose features raspberry, blackberry, and caramel notes. The flavor is full bodied and exceptionally smooth and rounded; fruity berry and cherry predominate, but oak and tannins make it interesting. The finish has a cherry and spice kicker. All in all, this wine shoots to the top of our “very affordable and very drinkable” list. It’s not a cab for the ages, but it can’t miss with dinner or for sipping alone.
The Napa Ridge website is a bit sparse, but it does indicate that others like this wine (though perhaps not as much as we do). The Napa Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 won a silver medal at the 2006 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, a Critics Award from the 2005 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition , a Double Gold Medal/Sweepstakes award at the 2005 International Eastern Wine Competition , and a gold medal at the 2005 Tasters Guild International Wine Judging.
We don’t rate wines as “9” very often, but we felt this cab rose above some of the others we called 8.5s. The Napa Ridge Lodi cabernet is a great value at well under $10 – give it a try and let us know what you think.