Two big — big — reds from Napa’s Mount Veeder Winery. Cabernet leads the way in both of these wines, both blends.
2018 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – 82% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot, 6% petit verdot, and 4% malbec. Toasty and oaky, this wine evokes the essence of the forest, with aromas of licorice, turned earth, fresh thyme, and dark chocolate all in a complicated melange. There’s plenty of tannin here on the palate, showcasing a wine that clearly needs some years to hit its stride. For now, the wine remains fairly tight and closed off, hanging tight with its earthier elements while evoking on the finish notes of cloves, more licorice, black pepper, and again a chocolate note that lingers for some time. Ultimately straightforward, but on the whole it’s engaging and fairly rewarding. B+ / $44
2017 Mount Veeder Reserve Red Wine Napa Valley – A blend of 88% cabernet sauvignon, 6% malbec, and 6% merlot. Rich with chocolate, gingerbread, and licorice, this wine is supple and semi-sweet, feeling built for the holidays. Notes of cherry and currants give the wine a confectionery feel, pairing well with the silky chocolate character up front. Some spice emerges on the lengthy finish, where barrel-driven vanilla hangs out alongside a slight cinnamon and brown sugar note. What tannin is here is well-integrated into a rich and enveloping whole. A- / $100