Here we have a wine from the second label of Napa Valley’s Merryvale Vineyard.   Frequently called out by Wine Spectator, their cabernets are deluxe in a way only Napa Cabs can be.  And you’ll typically pay around $100 for the privilege.

This is not one of those bottles. We don’t tend to review them, since they are beyond most wine drinkers’ reach. No, this is something very different, and we like it a lot. We have reviewed previous vintages of this wine, and for good reason. This is one of the rare bottles of  Napa Cabs in the $20 price range that offers great fruit and quality winemaking.

Most Napa cabs in this price range are made from substandard juice that was sold “down river,” typically because the grapes were lower in quality or flawed in some fashion. This is just the nature of the game, as good quality grapes from the region are far too expensive to make value priced wines. When trying to hit a price tag of $20 or under, the winemaker often has to fix the wine in ways that hide any sense of varietal or regional expression.

This is not the case here.  The Starmont continues to surprise with the level of quality and care that goes into the final product.  Varietally correct, the wine opens up with fresh cedar and grassy spice notes.  Ripe red cherry and currant flavors flow in a medium-bodied package with nicely-grained tannins. Finishes with licorice and cut wildflowers.