Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – A 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for Memorial Day

The May Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from 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 Memorial Day and paired with steaks off the grill. 2002 was an above average vintage in Napa Valley and all the wines I have chosen below have an exceptional track record for aging well. It will be hard to go wrong at 20 years of age with any of these bottles. All of the reviews below were from a vintage retrospective tasting by the Wine Advocate in 2012.

The Contenders

  • 2002 Dalla Valle 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 The Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon – This appears to be one of the great efforts from Chateau Montelena, something I think I was correct about when I gave it an ‘in the bottle’ rating in 2006 of 95+. It is still an amazingly young wine that came from old vines on the famous St. George rootstock that did not require replanting because of the phylloxera epidemic that swept through Napa in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Despite its lofty 14.4% alcohol (high by Montelena standards) and the overall flamboyance of the 2002 vintage, it needs another 4-6 years of cellaring. This young, classic Cabernet Sauvignon represents the quintessential traditional school of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. It possesses an inky/blue/purple color in addition to a tight, but promising nose of black currants, crushed rocks, earth and spice. 96 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Pahlmeyer – 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. 99 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Should I Open?

  • 2002 Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon (38%, 8 Votes)
  • 2002 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon (33%, 7 Votes)
  • 2002 Pahlmeyer (29%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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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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4 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – A 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for Memorial Day

    1. A wine I’m familiar with, but have never tried. Looking forward to reading your notes on this on!

  1. Pahlmeyer. In addition to the notes, it has the most varietals representing the diversity of military personnel that served and sacrificed their lives

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