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WINE REVIEW: 2016 J. McClelland Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA ($50)

by Andrew Chalk

Appearance: Color intensity light (translucent at core). Color: Garnet core to swatery rim.

Nose: Oak, briary notes, raspberry, blackberry, sage, forest floor, rose petals;

Palate: Soft tannins, medium acidity, fruit confirms raspberry and blackberry, fruit intensity medium, herbal notes, complexity medium.

Finish is only medium longevity but pleasant (warm and fruit-driven).

This wine draws fruit from multiple (unnamed) vineyards in the Napa Valley and is a blend of 86% cabernet sauvignon and 14% merlot. It is made in the Scotto family’s Steele Canyon Cellars winery in Napa’s eastern hills by winemakers Paul Scotto and Mitch Cosentino, with the assistance of winemaker Mark Smith.

The first marker of this wine is the lightness of the color, something that stands out in a world where dark colors are so ubiquitous, and sought after, in Napa cabernet sauvignon. Before decrying an apparently pallid effort one should taste it at length. The nose has a savoriness that develops beautifully in the glass over the first half hour after opening. The palate is soft and instantly accessible. This is a wine that can be consumed now and probably has a peak condition life of five years at most.

At $50 it is a bargain by Napa standards.

J McClelland Cellars was founded in 2008 by the Scotto family to honor the man of the same name who advised the Scotto’s over a long period of time. Winery notes describe him as “one of [the industry’s] unsung heroes with six decades of service and innovation in winemaking”.


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