The Vancouver International Winefest starts this week and this year, California is the focus. Choosing an iconic Cali wine is darn near impossible—if a panel chose Russian River Pinot, Paso Robles Syrah or Amador County Zinfandel, they’d all be right. But if I had to choose the paradigm, I’d go with Napa Cabernet as the wine that most says CA. There’s a whole swack of them at the winefest (Antinori’s Antica is worth checking out, Girard a classy option, The Oracle from Miner Family is a blockbuster), but the one that holds the standard for the last three decades is Joseph Phelps. I don’t imagine they’re pouring the flagship Insignia (but if they are, push old ladies out of the way to get it), but the “regular old” Cabernet (regular to the tune of about $80) is all depth and richness and a lovely balance—spice and plums and everything that makes Napa, Napa.
Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 2010