Tonight, I opened the last remaining bottle of this high QPR (quality price ratio) value special wine that I acquired a year ago. I wrote a feature at the time about Ninety Plus Cellars and their negociant business where they buy excess fruit from growers, or bulk wine, or in some cases bottled but unlabeled wine from producers, and bottle or release it under their own private label series.
Once in a while this results in an extraordinary value in a wine offered at a fraction of the original producer's or grower's offering price, hence the need to keep the source secret and release under their own or private label. This Lot 94 is such a wine.
The challenge of course is that you can't get too attached to a wine because there may not be a follow on vintage, or there may be sporadic intermittent releases every couple of years, or perhaps only in lesser years when the quality of the product is not up the standards for the primary label. Or, you may get lucky, and the producer has excess inventory or product available and is eager to release it to a trusted outlet.
Ninety Plus Cellars have built an extensive brand with an extensive selection of wines from around the world, released under their own label. Their nomenclature of the Lot number for any particular wine indicates the source of the product so consumers can identify such from one vintage to the next.
There have been several Ninety Plus wines that I have discovered where I acquired all that I could obtain to keep for enjoyment and value over time, Lot 101, Washington State, Columbia Valley Syrah was one such example.
To replace this consumed bottle of this wine, I had to obtain the latest release of this label, still available as 'Lot 94' from 90+, albeit from the 2017 vintage. Following this tasting I went out and acquired a case of the latest release of the label. Watch for my review of that vintage release.
A replay of my review of Lot 94. Tonight's tasting was consistent with that earlier experience.
According to Ninety Plus Cellars, "This distinguished Cabernet Sauvignon was made from fruit picked from vines situated on the east side of the valley in a vineyard that was first planted in the 1890s. Upon alluvial and volcanic soils these densely planted vines produce Cabernet Sauvignon that makes some of the best wine in Napa. This is an all-star Cabernet with a pedigree that's unrivaled by anything we've put in a bottle."
They assert that the offering price for the wine under the source producer's label is double the price of the discounted private label. That may indeed be the case. In any event, I'll testify that this is a high QPR - quality price ratio, great value wine that is comparable to product twice its price.
I originally acquired this when it was one of the wines of the week, featured at the Saturday tasting of the local Vin Chicago outlet (since closed as they succumb to the competition of on-line retailers). So it was, that after tasting at the Vin Chicago Saturday tasting, I grabbed a couple bottles to bring home and try again with different foods or accompaniments. I expect I'll be going back to buy more for great value high quality every day drinking, as well as for special occasions.
This was dark garnet colored, medium bodied, complex sweet black currant and berry fruits, with notes of mocha, tangy clove spice, herbs, tobacco and hints of spicy oak and vanilla with a smooth polished finish.
RM 91 points.