The last time PlumpJack’s Winery tasked winemaker Jeff Owens with making an inaugural release for their portfolio, he did so to the tune of 100-points with the release of the 2012 Odette Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon.
So when Plumpjack decided they wanted to make the best under $100 Napa Valley Cabernet with their new Adaptation Cabernet, it was no surprise who got the nod to make it. As competitive as any winemaker in Napa, Owens is always trying to make the best wine. His wines typically tend to be energetic, expressive and super approachable – all great qualities that tend to bode especially well for scoring, since the wines rarely “need a decade in a bottle” before they start to show who they are.
The Adaptation Cabernet allows Owens to make a Cabernet with other Bordeaux varietals from a collection of the top vineyards from across the valley. This is PlumpJack’s “Quilt” so to speak. It features Cabernet along the Silverado Trail in Stag’s Leap from their own Odette Vineyards as well as Heitz’s Trailside Vineyard, to go with fruit from St. Helena, Chaix’s vineyard in Rutherford, Merlot from the rocky terrain of Howell Mountain, along with fruit from Oak Knoll, and Carneros.
Opaque to the rim with sweet blackberry, wild cherries, plums, cocoa and creme de cassis with notes of violet on the nose. It’s wonderfully rich and full-bodied with expressive aromas, ripe fruit and a wonderfully silky texture. This is a big boy, yet very elegant and refined with nuance and waves of depth that suggest that even though it’s killer now, it might still be a few years away from its prime. It’s going to win a lot of people over.
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The CJ Cabernet Sauvignon is one that is very close to the heart of superstar winemaker Philippe Melka. It comes from his home vineyard and is actually named after his kids. It explodes right out the glass with dark blackberry and black cherry notes, that play nicely with a hint of vanilla from the oak. It’s wonderfully built, a Cabernet that combines brute force and finesse to get a creamy, velvety expression. It’s got great balance and length to the finish and should be a force for the next 15-20 years, easily.