Napa Valley's prestigious wine reputation has been boldly built on the back of Cabernet Sauvignon. With close to 20,000 acres of vineyard planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa's warm weather, long growing season, diverse soil structures and remarkable microclimates welcome Cab-loving vintners and consumers alike.
8 Great Napa Wineries for Cabernet Sauvignon
While the vast majority of Napa's wineries will offer at least one Cab in their tasting lineup, wine enthusiasts visiting the Valley want to know the top wineries to visit for discovering the best of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
This quick guide to touring and tasting Napa's top Cabs will introduce visitors to the names and places behind the famed red wine grape. Keep in mind, it's always a good idea to call ahead for tasting reservations, though many places still allow drop-ins.
1. Pine Ridge
Offering a lively and illuminating presentation of the Pine Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, the 5X5 Reserve Tasting pairs five estate Cabs expertly partnered with five delicious bites. Each featured Cabernet Sauvignon represents one of Napa's designated appellations: Howell Mountain, Rutherford, Oakville, Stags Leap District and Carneros, giving tasters a tangible sense of place and creatively educating palates in the process.
Leaning heavily on history and modernization, Beaulieu Vineyards has been a pioneer in Napa Valley's winemaking legacy for more than a century. Founded by Georges de Latour at the turn of the century, BV Vineyards enjoys a remarkable reputation for producing world class Cabernet Sauvignon.
From BV's first tier Napa Cab at $17 to the high-end Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon at $125, there's a solid range of Cab-driven offerings to please the palate and purse of most visitors. Tours and tastings run the gamut. From guided tastings of four Cabs to in-depth reserve and barrel tastings, and verticals highlighting three older vintages, BV guests are sure to get a glimpse of Napa's history and long-standing Cabernet Sauvignon partnership.
Located in the distinguished Stag's Leap District, the very heart of Napa's Cab country, Cliff Lede Vineyards centers around a trifecta of topnotch wine talent. With the gravity-flow winery built in 2005, a high-tech berry sorting system, and the ability to separate the juice in fermentation tanks by vineyard blocks (which by the way are all named after rock songs, think American Girl, Born to Be Wild, and the like), Cliff Lede takes the dazzling details of winemaking very seriously. Known (and loved) for their Cabernet Sauvignon (Poetry is the ritzy, high-end flagship bottle) and stellar Sauvignon Blanc, the winery itself creates a sizzling atmosphere with rock 'n roll themes, gorgeous California casual tasting venues and five first-rate wine tasting options.
4. Louis M. Martini
Known for its flagship varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon (from both Napa and Sonoma), Louis Martini's wine tasting formats feature Cab front and center. The "Experience Cabernet" tasting is one-of-a-kind, taking guests from the vineyards to the cellars and wrapping up with a side-by-side comparative Cabernet Sauvignon tasting. Designed to build enthusiasm for the Valley's noble grape through hands-on education and tangible tasting experience, Louis Martini's pioneering efforts with Cabernet combined with a commitment to bring well-made, well-priced Cab to the masses makes this Napa Valley tasting a must stop.
Caymus Vineyards produces two high profile Cabs: the "Special Selection" Cab based on a blend of the year's best barrels and a "Napa Valley" Cabernet offering a classic, well-concentrated take of the region's most notable grape. Both wines consistently win the hearts and dollars of Napa's top wine enthusiasts. Don't miss the wine and artisan cheese pairing at Caymus, which features a generous pour of the Special Selection Cab in the tasting lineup.
6. Silver Oak
Started in the 1970s with an eye towards producing exceptional Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Silver Oak maintains their extraordinary Cab focus over 40 years later. Today, they showcase premium Cabernet Sauvignon from both the Napa Valley and Sonoma's Alexander Valley. The elegant influence of American oak plays a critical role in the style and structure of Silver Oak's wine, as final blends are crafted prior to barrel aging.
Silver Oak's Cab reasonably priced tours and tastings are offered both at Napa's Oakville winery and Sonoma's Geyserville winery.
7. Chateau Montelena
Historically relevant to Napa Valley's timeline, Chateau Montelena was the winery that produced the first place Chardonnay that took the big win over the best of Burgundy in the 1976 Paris Tasting. Today, both Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are big winners at this one-of-a-kind estate tucked into Napa's northern tip of Calistoga. Tastings range from $25-50 and carry considerable content for both Napa newbies and seasoned enthusiasts. Chateau Montelena showcases two Cabs, one made with grapes sourced from Napa Valley at large and one crafted from all estate grown grapes.
Established in 1973, Duckhorn Vineyards has been a long time fan of Bordeaux grape varieties. With Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon shining as their brightest stars, there's been considerable interest in using both in stunning blend renditions. To that tune, Duckhorn spun off a winery inspired and initially devoted to their best Cab-based blend, Paraduxx, in 2005. Today, Discussion carries the winery's current mantle for the best of the blend and highlights generous proportions of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to the delight of many Duckhorn fans. Decoy, Duckhorn's sister label, is geared for the solid value, under $20, everyday wine find. Several different levels of tasting experiences acquaint visitors with the Duckhorn portfolio and begin at $30.