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For a holiday gift that will not only support the wildfire-ravaged communities of Napa and Sonoma but also provide for great sipping over the break and into the new year, I recommend a California Cabernet Sauvignon — a big wine that stands up to holiday meals with warmth and color. The best years for California Cabs are 1997, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013 — and maybe 2014. They’re drinkable after three to four years in the bottle and can last as long as 30 to 50 years if properly stored. Some favorites at every price:
Seavey has flavors of blackberry, earth and spice — very layered.
Circadia is smooth, laid back and mellow.
O’Shaughnessy (Howell Mountain or Mount Veeder) offers blue and black fruits galore and velvety tannins.
From $100 to $250
Shafer Hillside Select has notes of charcoal and graphite, blue and black fruits and cassis — a vibrant wine.
Kapcsandy State Lane Vineyard has a red blend (60 percent to 90 percent Cab depending on the year) that’s intense, floral and balanced.
Realm Cellars’ Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard or Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabs are volcanic with lots of sweet fruit — voluptuous wines.
Colgin (Tychson Hill, Cariad or IX Estate) wines finish in around 45 seconds! Amazing.
Schrader has several different labels, from CCS to Old Sparky, with fabulous Cabs.
Abreu, Dalle Valle Maya, Futo, Sloan and Hundred Acre Cabs all are rated 100-point wines by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate — too hard to choose among them!
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