2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – $40
Wines are fickle, wines are unpredictable. People, too. Put them together, and it’s tough to tell what might go down. However, sometimes there are just obvious winners in the world of wine, bottles that everybody can agree upon, and thank goodness for that, and thank you to Kathryn Hall, whose 2007 Napa Cab is easily in this category. (She was also U.S. Ambassador to Austria, one of my favorite wine-making countries, so I have another reason to like her). Her feminine leadership at the winery comes through, as this is not brash, macho posturing in a glass, but rather a harmonic union of supple, smooth fruit with the intense focus and depth of passionate craftsmanship. The nose is engaging and dark, the palate refined but round; no tannic torpor to assault your tongue, just enough earth to provide a forest bed of passing evergreen. The careful construction of this wine is a great distillation of Napa purity into bottle form. A crowd-pleaser, but also a critic-pleaser.