Alta Nova Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
If there’s a shortlist of Napa Valley craftspeople working their wizardry with Cabernet Sauvignon these days, Britt Nichols is surely on it. As winemaker resumés go, hers is the kind that easily finds its way to the top of the pile. This young Napa vintner, a graduate of CSU Fresno’s prestigious winemaking program, has worked alongside such masters as Philip Titus and the near-incomparable Philippe Melka. Now, at the helm of an exciting new project, Napa’s Alta Nova Cellars, Britt is poised to ascend to the new heights that are entwined in this artisan brand’s own identity.
Having also worked at Chappellet, Jordan, and Peter Michael Winery, established properties long-known for their elegant and highly collectible Cabernets, Britt brings the expertise to Alta Nova to recreate an approach to winemaking that is all about balance and harmony—and then build upon it. Indeed, the label itself boasts an original etching of an orbiting sun, earth, and moon in harmonious relationship. So it follows that Britt’s 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine created to send your palate into a joyful orbit.
The impressively pedigreed vintner has learned more than a few things in her still-young career, not least of which is that high-elevation vineyard sites in Napa Valley have the potential to produce Cabernets of incredible power and purity, qualities that can orbit around each other when coaxed from the best vines. The “new heights” alluded to at Alta Nova refer to the fact that its vineyard sources represent some of Napa Valley’s most sought-after, high elevation sites. In 2018, from steep, western-facing vineyards planted in iron rich soils, Britt created a wine of unparalleled depth, complexity, and finesse.
Aged for twenty months in 60% new French oak barrels, this Cabernet Sauvignon demonstrates how Napa vinous royalty can rule with a gentle hand. The wine opens with complex, concentrated aromas of cherry, cassis, pomegranate, and cranberry, along with peppery, savory notes of olive, licorice, and a hint of graphite. Displaying an impressive balance of ripe, rich fruit and smooth tannins, the Alta Nova dazzles the palate and enhances any food enjoyed with it. But there’s no doubting that Britt has intended for her newest Cabernet creation to be the star of the table, and the centerpiece of conversation.
Young talent in the cellar and stellar fruit in the bottle… grab at least a six pack and join us for the ascent!