This time, tucked snugly in her picnic-basket briefcase, were three bottles of Napa Valley Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignons for me to taste. Just released for sale (and still smudged with winemaker Chris Carpenter’s fingerprints), the trio was what I had come to expect in top-dollar Napa Cab: pillars of structural strength with tightly focused dark fruit, juicy acidity, and a richness that you just won’t find in an under-$40 Cab Sauv.
Of the three, the 2006 Lokoya Diamond Mountain was the softest and most feminine styled, a glass of wild strawberries, raspberries, cherries, soft tannins, cedar, and earthy minerality.
The 2006 Lokoya Howell Mountain tasted darker, more concentrated, with dense black cherry fruitiness and savory notes of dill, tobacco, cinnamon and cocoa. You could almost taste the redwoods and pine trees that rise along the mountainside vineyard.
My favorite of the three 2006 Cabs, though, was produced from grapes grown in Lokoya’s Mount Veeder vineyard. Its craggy, volcanic soils and early morning sun force the vines to struggle for nutrients—and produce the darkest, most intense fruit of the three 2006 Lokoya Cabs. Deep purple—almost inky—the Mt. Veeder unfolded first in layers of blueberries and dark cherries, then in whisky, tobacco, chocolate and coffee.
These were quintessential Napa Cabs that demonstrate the talents of a skilled winemaker. Big, bold, sassy, sexy, full of bright fruit, acid, and complexity, all trapped in a very young bottle.
Sommelier Heather Green says she likes her cocktails “all grown up.” Well, she can have ‘em; I’ll take a young Lokoya any day.
These Cabs are not to be missed.