2011 Lewis Cellars "Mason's" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1140197 90 points Connoisseurs Guide

 There is little question but that the 2011 vintage is one in which careful selection will go a long way, but, as in every year, there will still be good Cabernets to be had, and this one from Lewis proves that point. It musters far more richness and sheer fruity muscle than the admittedly less-pricey 2011s that are debuted in this issue, and the winery's predilection for high ripeness and substance cannot go unnoticed. It is big, very big, but with its size comes a clear theme of currants, and it is dressed up with plenty of very sweet oak. It is unconcerned with finesse now, and it may never be, but it will never be faulted for being timid or at all underfilled.  (12/2013)

K&L Notes

Lewis doesn't make the Mason's Cabernet every year--this is the fifth vintage since it was first made in 2003 to commemorate the birth of Debbie and Randy Lewis' youngest grandson. The 2011 is still incredibly youthful, like 10-year-old Mason, and it's bursting with cherry-fruited energy. Notes of chocolate and licorice add to the wine's complexity, as do firm tannins and a medium- to full-body.

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Price: $39.99
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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 15.5