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One Bottle: QUINTESSA, 2017

by Trevor Felch

While absorbing the views around Quintessa’s Rutherford estate, you can’t help but reflect on the fact that these renowned vineyards produce only two wines: Illumination Sauvignon Blanc and the Quintessa red — one of Napa Valley’s definitive elite wines. It doesn’t need a name. The wine speaks for itself.

The 2017 is 92 percent cabernet sauvignon, plus merlot, carménère (a nod to proprietor Agustin Huneeus’ Chilean heritage) and petit verdot (though there’s no cabernet franc in this vintage, which is a rarity). This was a stellar vintage with a rainy start and hot finish, but it’s also a tragic one. The harvest for this wine finished one day before the Tubbs and Atlas Peak fires.

This is a beautiful wine with polished tannins, a smooth texture and a powerful, juicy character. The nose strikes with cumin and candied orange, followed by blackberry and bay leaf notes, leading to a lingering finish of autumn spices. It’s a reminder of how special the finest Napa Valley wines can be.

The 2017 Quintessa, Rutherford Napa Valley Red Wine can be found at local shops, including K&L Wine Merchants, and quintessa.com.

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