A 100 point score is the ultimate achievement, yet the top winemakers behind these icons lavish their 'gateway' wines with just as much love, care, and attention. This is experienced best when these opening gambits are from the same Estate Vineyards as their glitzy big-siblings, offering a true expression of world-class terroir, and fantastic value.
We've hand-picked three reds from a trio of Napa's top Estates, all from the highly-regarded 2018 vintage, and available to open and enjoy straight away.
Located in the cooler-climate of western Yountville, Blankiet Estate is a benchmark for elegance and finesse. Their ultra-rare Mythicvs (£250 + per btl IB at release) has amassed 6x100pt scores in the last 5 vintages alone, yet is built for long-term cellaring. No patience is required for winemaker Graeme MacDonald's sublime Prince of Hearts Red 2018 (97pts), which is loaded with savoury aromatics and shows total balance on the palate, at £71 per btl IB.
Cliff Lede Vineyards is a name synonymous with perfection, their Poetry Cabernet (£245+ per btl) one of Napa's hottest allocations with perfect scores left, right, and centre. The hillside tannins make it another classic for the cellar, yet this fruit combined with the lusher profile of the blocks surrounding the winery make the Stags Leap District Cabernet a huge crowd pleasure every year. Winemaker Chris Tynan's 2018 is full of energy and a killer buy at £67 per btl IB.
One of the original, true 'Cult Wineries' that put Napa on the world map in the mid-1990s, Dalla Valle Vineyards is true Californian Royalty. Their ground-breaking Maya (£400+ per btl) was one of the first wines to explore Cabernet Franc, and this same approach applies to the refined and exceptionally delicious Collina Dalla Valle 2018 (£90 per btl). It carries all the hallmarks of this legendary Estate, crafted by the talented duo, Andy Erickson and Maya Dalla Valle.