by Andrew Chalk
A label of Schrader Cellars and made by their winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown, whose name features prominently on the bottle and the web site. Fred Schrader founded Schrader Cellars in 1998, hiring Thomas Rivers Brown as his winemaker and contracting for To Kalon vineyard fruit. His aim was to make Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon without compromise.
Choosing to source from the famous To Kalon vineyard was a shot across the bows of the Napa wine scene that this was to be a winery of rare stature. Just ten years later it became the first winery to receive four consecutive 100-point reviews for the same wine from Robert Parker. The fame led to a loyal following and a loyal wine club list that could handle the entire production. The list even acquired a three-year waiting list to get on it.
The Schrader wines’ success led to prices of several hundred dollars per bottle. I suspect, and this is just a guess, that Double Diamond is an attempt to create a label positioned at a lower price point but embodying the same markers as the Schrader label.
Little wonder that this wine comes across as exceptionally refined and opulent. Beckstoffer To Kalon and Beckstoffer Georges III vineyards provide the fruit. Within the rarefied heights of what constitutes Napa Cabernet Sauvignon pricing it is actually a comparative bargain. Think of it as a surefire way to sample what it means to be Napa, and Oakville, Cabernet Sauvignon for less than a three digit price.
Appearance: Deep opaque raspberry with blueberry tinge;
Nose: Raspberry, vanilla, mint
Palate: Oaky, chewy tannins, raspberry and blackberry fruit, rosemary, mint, bay leaf. Enjoyable now or keep for a decade.