Kansas is Cabernet Sauvignon drinking country. The overwhelming numbers of Cab drinkers compared to other varietals is staggering. Thankfully Pinot Noir is starting to bridge the gap. Kansans love their beef and they love their Cab. They are a perfect marriage. Not all Cabernets are created equally and everyone has their preference. Specifically about Napa Cabs. The best sellers at Mike’s Wine Dive are the ripe higher alcohol cabs that show loads of fruit with minimal acid. Some of them can be quite good but its not my preference. I enjoy my Napa Cabs that are made with mountain fruit. Napa Valley really is a valley, and most of the Cabs are produced are from grapes grown on the valley floor. On the edges of the valley there are mountains. These mountains also grow grapes but they can be completely different from their counterparts on the valley floor. With warm sunny days and cool nights it gives the grapes a large swing in climates through the coarse of each day. This helps to preserve the acidity in the grapes and if picked at the right time the grapes can have an incredible intensity about them with good acid structure. Some of the better known mountain regions in Napa are Spring Mountain, Howell Mountain, and Diamond Mountain. There are tons of different producers in each region. One of my favorites is CADE on Howell Mountain.
If you’re visiting Napa CADE is a must see. The views are incredible and the wines make the view even better. CADE literally leads the way with a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified winery. The place is immaculate, boasting an ultra modern design. After touring the winery and concrete cave the tasting room has a large window with a great view from 1800 ft of elevation. CADE produces some Sauvignon Blanc but they are known for their Cabernet Sauvignon. The volcanic and mineral soils combined with the mountain climate greatly influence their wines. The organically farmed Cabs are rich and complex but not overpowering with high alcohol and tannins. I am a big fan of balanced wines and most are hard to find in California. CADE fits the bill for me. The black fruits and nuances of oak and earth make CADE a wine thats hard to keep your nose out of. At Mike’s Wine Dive we carry the 2009 CADE Cabernet Sauvignon. Their sister property, Plumpjack also makes great wines. We have their 2010 Plumpjack Merlot. Next time you head for the wine store for some Napa Cab, grab a bottle from the Mountains in Napa. It can make for a new Napa experience.