Magnificent Old-School Napa Cab

Today’s Story: Ceritas Wines

I previously wrote about Ceritas back in June when I reviewed the 2017 Porter-Bass Vineyard Pinot Noir. As these wines can be hard to come by off the mailing list or in restaurants, I jumped at the opportunity to revisit them again today.

Ceritas Wines is a small, family-owned winery spearheaded by husband and wife duo John and Phoebe Raytek. John and Phoebe source their fruit from trusted vintners mainly in the West Sonoma Coast and Santa Cruz Mountains, with all sites practicing sustainable or organic viticulture. John is highly involved in the vineyards they source from, and in many cases the vintners only sell fruit to Ceritas and are labeled “Monopoles.” Considering himself a winemaker of the Old World style, John believes that fruit should lead the way throughout the winemaking process and he is merely there to watch over, listen, and learn about each unique site. In the cellar, John practices minimal intervention but “flexible” winemaking, with the wines meant to showcase with honesty and transparency the terroir of each specific vineyard site.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 13.1% ABV

The 2016 Peter Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon is medium to deep ruby in color with purple hues. Though nearly opaque, it is still lighter in the glass than I was imagining. I decanted this bottle for about 5 hours, checking in on it every hour or so, and drank it over the following 2-3 hours. The nose is gorgeous yet refined, showcasing aromas of blackberry, black raspberry, redcurrant, violets, cigar box, pine, mint, crushed rock, dried underbrush, pepper, and just a hint of oak. Moving onto the palate, I get notes of black cherry, blueberry, pomegranate, dried tobacco, licorice, scorched earth, graphite, dried green herbs, sage, and mild chocolate. The wine is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but refined tannins, and a long finish. This is an exquisite old-school and traditional Napa Cab that, while beautiful now, certainly has the legs to go another couple decades.

Price: $100. I think this is a great value Napa Cab that drinks like some of the $200 bottles I’ve had. While most “modern day” Napa Cab drinkers may not like this or may not appreciate it because it is so old-school and not what they are used to, the quality, elegance, and longevity of this wine is profound. Excited to revisit this in probably 5 years.

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