95 point wine

Three 95 point Napa Cabernets under $100

Although I am likely to be castigated by fellow wine bloggers for this, I thought I would go ahead and do it anyway!  95 point Napa Valley Cabernets for under $100.  On first glance there is just so much wrong with that sentence.

It was hoped by many that 2012 would be the year consumers would learn to think for themselves and stop buying wine based on points. So being a bit of  a contrarian I just couldn’t help myself.

I thought it might be fun for wealthy wine nerds to have a wine party (and invite me).  Everyone would need to bring a bottle of wine.  A wine rated 95 points or higher, and priced at under $100.

SO…without any flavor profiles or any context what so ever,  here are 3 wines that would suffice:

napa wine2007 Clark-Caludon Estate Cabernet:

Rating: 95 points Robert Parker

Price: $78

napa wine2008 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet

rating: 95 points, Robert Parker

Price: $48

2007 Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cabernet

Rating: 96 Points, Robert Parker

Price: $80

Did I miss any?  What wines would you put on the list?

Wine Review: Kendall Jackson Stature, 2003 Oakville, Napa Valley

Kendall Jackson Stature 2003

Kendall jackson Stature, 2003

80% Cabernet Sauvignon

10% Cabernet Franc

5% Merlot

5% Petit Verdot

14.6% alcohol

Oakville, Napa Valley


395 cases made

I know what some of you are probably thinking – Kendall Jackson produces a $100 bottle of wine?! Yes they do, and it’s perennially rated and regarded very highly (the current 2004 release is priced at $120, and this 2003 vintage scored between 94 and 98 points by numerous sources). I found it hard to believe myself when I first wandered into KJ’s tasting room in Healdsburg, CA a few years back. The guy behind the counter comped us a reserve tasting, and eventually gave us a pour of this red bordeaux blend. We were all impressed, it was great. I just had to pick up a bottle of this very limitedly produced wine.

Well, here I am nearly two years later ready to see how this wine held up, and if it would wow me again. The wine is deep red, nearly purple in the glass with a crimson rim. I popped this bottle open just 20 minutes before heading out to make a dinner reservation and decided to get an early taste of what was to come. The nose revealed classic Napa dark fruit dominated by cherries, floral notes, and a little coco. The wine was clearly very tight at first, and offered up complex flavors of cherries, mocha, and spice.

After 4 hours in the decanter, the wine was still opening up. Despite a 2003 vintage, this wine is drinking like a baby right now. Without question it could benefit from another 5 to 10 years in the bottle. The nose had not altered much, but the flavors were really starting to reveal themselves now. Gobs of cherries intermingled with mocha/chocolate. Some nice plum fruit was now apparent with a touch of spice. This is a very complex wine with well-balanced tannins and a quite dry, lingering finish. Clearly a bottle you want to open up with a big steak.

Overall, a superb wine. I can see why it was rated so high, and much enjoyed when tasted on both occasions. My only complaint would be the overly dry finish. It was more a finish that one would expect out of a Merlot forward blend – not Cabernet. I would also prefer another 2 years of age minimum before opening this particular bottle, but that is hardly the wine’s fault. This wine is a 94 pointer to me. For its incredible complexity and well-balanced tannins, the finish just isn’t there to justify a 95 plus point “classic” rating.

Ryan O’Connor