Buying Wine

Pick My Next Bottle – 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The May installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the the 2002 vintage. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened on Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

By all accounts 2002 was an exceptional vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Following on the heels of the flashy 2001 vintage, a long dry Summer with some September heat spikes, led to an earlier than normal harvest. The top wines of the vintage are aging gloriously and will cruise to fifteen years of age assuming ideal storage conditions.

The Contenders

  • 2002 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Araujo’s spectacular 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard is a 1,700-case blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot from a vineyard tucked in the lower hillsides of northeastern Napa Valley, not far from the quaint town of Calistoga. Araujo has enjoyed an incredible string of top-notch vintages from 2001 through 2005 and again from 2008 through 2010. Extremely youthful at age ten, the 2002 is a candidate for perfection. Its dense blue/purple hue is followed by abundant aromas of cassis, incense, crushed rocks and spring flowers. Full-bodied and opulent as well as pure, rich and authoritative, with abundant but beautifully integrated tannins, this opulent, plush 2002 can be drunk now or cellared for another 20-25 years. 99 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Dalle Valla Cabernet Sauvignon – The sensational 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc from the red soils of their vineyards planted in the Oakville Corridor on the eastern hillsides overlooking the valley floor vineyards of Screaming Eagle and Rudd Estate. A dense ruby/purple color is followed by aromas and flavors reminiscent of a 4-to-5 year-old wine rather than one that has already hit a decade of age. In fact, it probably needs another 5-10 years of cellaring and should keep for 20-25 more years. It is another example of what will one day be regarded as the ‘golden age’ of Napa Valley for the progress in quality and the world class wines that were produced. A wine of great stature and majesty, the youthful 2002 exhibits sweet licorice, creme de cassis, incense and graphite aromas, and is bursting with potential. 97 points from Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red – The nearly perfect 2002 Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and the rest dollops of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This exotic, full-throttle, nearly over-the-top red wine’s intensity, richness and smoky coffee notes intermixed with notions of chocolate, graphite, and jammy blackberry and black currant fruit ooze from the glass. This rich, concentrated beauty tastes more like a top-notch, young Right Bank Bordeaux from a vintage such as 2009 than a wine dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. With stunning purity and awesome potential, it can be drunk now or cellared for another two decades.
    99 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon should I open?

  • Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (49%, 19 Votes)
  • Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red (31%, 12 Votes)
  • Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon (21%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 39

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another.

Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the June Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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2 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

  1. Wonderful superstar line-up, Tom! Although all three wines should be drinking beautifully, my pick is the 02 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red because it has a much lower percentage of cabernet sauvignon in the blend than the others, so possibly has a bit shorter lifespan. On the other hand, it could all depend on what food you’ll be serving with the wine. A nice cut of beef? Then I might go with the 02 Araujo Eisele since it has the highest percentage of cabernet sauvignon. Lamb? Maybe the 02 Dalla Valle because of the 10% cabernet franc in the blend. No matter which wine you end up opening, the experience will be spectacular, I’m sure! Cheers!

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