#CabFestNV: An Inaugural Celebration of King Cab

May 9, 2014 at 5:38 pm

There are plenty of #wine fests these days, celebrating this region or that grape varietal, indeed the Napa Valley has plenty of its own festivals throughout the year.  When you think of the Napa Valley in particular, what wine comes to mind….umm, yeah CABERNET SAUVIGNON.  And then strangely, you realize that there is no festival that celebrates King Cab here in the Val. That is…until this year!  The newly relaunched Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater (FB, Tw) hosted the very first wine festival devoted to Napa Valley Cab, #CabFestNV 2014, in March of this year.  We were fortunate enough to attend all three days on a media pass and we were very impressed by the inaugural festival.

#CabFestNV at Lincoln Theater Napa Valley

Walking up to the Lincoln Theater, one can immediately see the refinement of the stone exterior and well-tended grounds, beautifully surpassed by the expansive and fully restored and modernized interior back in 2005.  Further improvements were made before the reopening one year ago, making for a modern, yet classically conscious, performing arts center.  The venue is the home for Symphony Napa Valley, but is also hosts various concerts and shows throughout the year and can also be rented out for consumer events.

The festival hummed along pretty smoothly for a first year effort, from the Jeff Bridges-headlined opening nighton Friday, to the indoor/outdoor VIP party upstairs (highly recommended), all the way to the various other breakout and VIP tastings and events.

Jeff Bridges & the Abiders, #CabFestNV 2014.

Both Saturday and Sunday were dominated by the Grand Tastings of cabernets from over 100 of the tiny boutique and more established and famous producers in the Napa Valley. Turnout was solid, with 2,000+ attendees over the weekend, but it never felt too crowded or more than comfortably busy at its height.  We were also very pleased to see how much the Valley supported this new celebration of cabernet, with sponsors spanning from all across and even beyond its beautiful borders.

The wines at both Grand Tastings were a fantastic slice across most of the finer cabernet-based wines that are produced in our dear Valley.

I tried to choose a few favorites each day, but honestly, many could have made the short list that I forced myself to cull from the many delicious palate pleasers, listed below.  Most releases were from the 2009 and 2010 vintages, but there were a few from my #MFITV 2011 vintage, just starting to poke their heads out of their bottles.  A final, happy cabernet revelation were the beautifully bright, red-fruited and elegant wines coming out of the new Coombsville AVA, already getting plenty of accolades elsewhere in the vinous world.

Check out our favorites listed below and be sure to attend next year’s brilliant festival!

Some of our favorite wines from #CabFestNV 2014:

 Krupp Brothers Napa Valley Stagecoach Vineyard Veraison Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Color: Dark garnet core, with medium garnet edges, slight violet highlights.

Nose: Wow, this is an amazing nose that is just starting to get towards its stride: beautiful mix of deep and still dark black/red/blue fruit, earth, leather, tobacco, fresh garden herbs, and loamy toast all round out the complexity here.

Palate: Also fantastic, and one of the best that we tasted all weekend at #CabFestNV, this shows off all of that deep and and dark fruit complexity in the nose, with cassis and black cherry dominating at the moment. The savory earth, loam, tobacco and leather come in towards the delicious mid-palate that also features incredibly smooth, full, and coating mouthfeel and fine tannin; all balanced by the great acidity and integrating toast. Fantastic: AwesomeWK.

 Etude Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Color: Very dark garnet and ruby core, with darker ruby edges.

Nose: As expected from the very talented Jon Priest-led winemaking team, this shows off incredible depth of black fruit with cassis, anise, black cherry; alongside toast, earth, and anise. Very good and just starting its rise.

Palate: This is a tremendous wine, with huge depth of ripe fruit, alongside flint, toast, earth, anise, and just a hint of tobacco here. The very fine and coating tannin, and great acidity add balance to the restrained power of this incredible cabernet: AwesomeWK.

Spring Mountain Vineyard Napa Valley Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Hope & Grace St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Hope & Grace Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Daviana Napa Valley Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

 Vineyard {511} Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Color: Very dark violet and garnet core, with violet edges.

Nose: Very good, super-deep and ripe black fruit of cassis here in the nose, with toast, smoke, earth, and big anise.

Palate: Also quite good here, with tremendous depth and boldness, yet it is still quite nicely balanced across all of the factors of a great wine: fine, very coating tannin, deep and dark black fruit of ripe cassis and blackberry, toast, good acidity, wonderful smoothness in the feel, and integrating smoky toast, anise, and wet earth. A very good inaugural effort: NewWorldWK.

 COHO Napa Valley Headwaters Red Wine 2010

Color: Darker ruby in the core, with bright ruby edges.

Nose: Great bright, juicy red fruit of raspberry and red currants in the nose, here, with some light dusty earth, light toast, and some good flinty minerality.

Palate: Flinty here as well, this medium to full wine has great bright acidity to enliven the red fruit medley from the nose, along with balancing fine tannin, great mouthfeel, and that flint and dusty toast from the nose. Good value as well, from this Coombsville-sourced wine: QPRWK.

Ward Kadel - @drXeNo is the founder of Vinopanion wine blog, the West Coast Ambassador & Staff Blogger for WineLog.net and Le Wine Buff for Bordeaux.com (CIVB). He will try any and all wines and tends to write about the parts of his life that include wine...like virtually all of it! He and his wife grew up in Napa and Sonoma and they still live in the Napa Valley. View Ward's WineLog and check out the wines he's recommended with his WKBadges. Follow him on Twitter and Like Vinopanion on Facebook. Contact him: "Ward at WineLog.net". Ward happily accepts samples but does not guarantee a review, positive or negative.

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