This is the big question! At some stage, everybody that likes a “good glass of cab” must have asked themselves. What is it that makes a good glass of juice really great & worth paying the extra for?
In her article, Savoring Napa’s Most Reliable Cabernets, Lettie Teajue, asks in the WallStreet Journal, “What it is that makes a Napa Valley Cabernet most reliable ?” She concludes that after tasting many Napa Cabs over the years, it wasn’t so easy to find one that she consistently liked. “They didn’t taste the same from vintage to vintage One year was good, another much less so“.
The Certified Sommelier & wine specialist, Elizabeth Schneider, explains in her article, What’s the difference between cheap and expensive wine? “I’m telling you, even if you don’t know how expensive a wine is, when you taste something that is well made, there’s a big difference between that and plonk. I’m totally willing to buy that, like everything in wine, tasting quality is something you learn as you learn more about wine. You may be at a place now where you can’t taste the difference. It will come with time and more tasting“.
The concept of exactly why a boquet wine tastes so good is so often a closely guarded secret among winemakers: “You can only make amazing wine with great fruit” says Simon Wilson at Old Acre Wines. Expertise in winemaking techniques & flavour all go together to produce the best bouquet wines.
It seems though that most experts agree the soil the vine grows in has a great deal to do with it:
As the late Steve Pitcher, a freelance wine writer from San Francisco suggested, “Wines made from grapes grown in the benchland area of Napa are said to exhibit Rutherford dust shorthand for a dusty-berry-spicy element that is difficult to put your finger on, exactly (Hugh Johnson suggests that allspice is the most precise reference). There’s also often an herbaceous character, with the wines showing sturdy tannins. Most of the soil here is well-drained gravel loam.Wineries making wines from vineyards in the “Rutherford Bench” include some of the greatest names in the history of Napa Valley“.
Simon Wilson, when asked about why Old Acre Wines chose wines from Rutherford Bench “In my opinion, the best fruit of the 2013 vintage came from the Bench. This vineyard benefits from the varied weather conditions that are perfect for Cabernet grapes: the morning mist, the evening sun, the light breezes“.