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  • andychalk

WINE REVIEW: 2017 Dakota Shy Cabernet Sauvignon, ‘T-E-N’, Napa Valley, CA ($94)

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

by Andrew Chalk

Before tasting this wine I had never heard of Dakota Shy Wine. Having tasted it, I know that I am going to hear a lot more. This particular wine, an ‘expression’ among the five cabernet sauvignons in their lineup, was scored 90/100 by Antonio Galloni in Vinous but I think that was harsh. Give it time to open up and several more points are easy to reconcile.

Dakota Shy was founded by Todd Newman in 2008. Seeing his parsimonious LinkedIn profile, I assumed that he had come from doing black ops. for the Navy Seals in Afghanistan. Maybe helping the Afghanis add heroin to the Bordeaux blend. But I was wrong. He came to winery ownership through hospitality, founding Dakota Sky from the tips he had accumulated. No silver spoons here.

Partner/winemaker Tom Garrett has 70-year family roots in Napa, where his family owned on Oakville property that was part of the To-Kalon plot. Time at Turley Wine Cellars, Joseph Phelps Vineyard, Robert Mondavi Winery, and Revana Family Vineyard (with the legendary Heidi Barrett) means that this man knows his craft.

Finally, Ryan Clark as General Manager/partner runs operations. He spent time at Larkmead, Kelly Fleming, and Checkerboard Vineyards on Diamond Mountain.

The only downside of Dakota Shy is that quantities are very limited. This wine is on allocation so you should sign up at the web site to be put on their list for future vintages. I will say that the price, for Napa Valley, is very reasonable. Put this wine up against Napa wines with more label recognition and it will take some scalps. I expect prices to rise for future vintages as recognition ensues.


Appearance: Opaque blackcurrant colored core with purple edges;

Nose: Exemplifies the Napa quality of herbaceousness. Brambly. Tightly wound and quite closed in. Forest floor. Dusty. Seems to have a lot more to give;

T: Medium acid. Medium tannin. Velvet tannins. Intense blackcurrant fruit. Earthy, forest floor, spices of thyme, oregano. The power does not overwhelm the subtlety of this wine which just gets better and better in the glass. In fact, the winery recommends a 3-4 hour decant prior to service. I would agree with that.




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