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WINE REVIEW: Adaptation 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA ($77)

by Andrew Chalk

This is a find. A Napa cabernet sauvignon crafted straight from the school of lucious. A forward complex nose utters forth from the ruby depths speaking of raspberries, mint, thyme, pencil core, opulent new French oak and blackberries. Lusciousness in the mouth means the fruit emanates from a chewy tannic base that lines the mouth priming the long fruit-driven finish.

This wine is predominantly primary flavors with some secondary flavors right now, so ageing is strongly encouraged. Given that it comes in at half the price of some boutique Napa brands, try to swing a third of a case. Drink one now, and then one every four years. I may be wrong, but I think the fun will be worth it. The cépage is 80% cabernet sauvignon, 18% merlot, and 2% petite sirah.

You may well ask, who is Adaptation? They certainly do a good job of self-steganography (or, hiding in plain sight). Their label proudly declares they are from Angwin, California.That is as descriptive as declaring you are from Upper Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. In fact, Adaptation is a label of Odette Estate, part of Plumpjack. It means that the winemaker is Odette’s Jeff Owens, who makes exactly the same luscious, silky, hedonistic expression of cabernet sauvignon for Odette.

Adaptation is clear that this is not a second label of Odette. That winery focuses on Stags Leap District fruit. Adaptation is Owens’ escape hatch as it lets him choose fruit from anywhere in Napa Valley.

Adaptation’s media materials refer to it as “Napa Valley’s best kept secret.”

Not any more.




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