Hoopes: What Daddy Wants For Christmas

Around this time each year I make my imbibing Christmas list, foolishly thinking that I've been good enough for my wishes to come true. This year, a recent discovery made the list, the 2018 Hoopes Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville ($125.)

Regular readers know my skepticism of Napa Valley and its runaway pricing. But every once in a while, there's an exception to the norm. While $125 is a lot, it seems to be the average price for the variety in Napa anymore, seemingly regardless of quality. Needless to say, I was prepared to be indifferent about this wine. Well, chalk, one up for being open-minded.

What we have here is an extremely well-made wine, obviously sourced from high-quality vines. It isn't just good from a textbook perspective, but has a handmade, human-touch quality to it that is endearing. Though it looks and smells consistent with what you'd expect from Napa cab, its taste and delivery are inspired. For starters, at just five years since harvesting, this wine is extremely approachable, right from the cork's pull. The texture is like merino wool - just enough coarseness to give some grip and tension- while the palate is a deep, weighty blanket you can get lost in. Sure, there's plush, black fruit framed by balanced oak and Napa's signature profile, but there's also a subtle evergreen influence that's part of its character. At once eye-opening for its command of the senses, and eye-closing for its seductive power. Damn! Wish I had more of this! 94 Points.

Available from the winery at https://www.hoopesvineyard.com/