Napa Valley is home to some of the finest Cabernet in the world. And thanks to a boost from Mother Nature – 2018 was a “near picture-perfect growing season” (Wine Spectator) – the wines are especially ripe and rich. Especially in the storied district of Rutherford, dubbed “the Pauillac of California” by famed wine writer Hugh Johnson.
Illustrious hails from a major (major) Rutherford estate, whose top Cabernet sells for $90-plus a bottle. It’s crafted from a small batch that didn’t quite make it into their flagship red – in Bordeaux, you’d call it their ‘second’ wine.
You’re in for all the hallmarks of a first-class Napa Cab – but without the price. Look forward to intense aromas of fresh black currants, black plum and spice, with broad, black fruit flavors plus lovely weight and structure on the palate. Light oak aging adds a subtle, toasty note to the long finish.
The concentrated flavors of this fine Cabernet could overpower more delicate foods, so aim to match it with heartier dishes. A juicy steak will pair deliciously, as will roast beef, rack of lamb, spicy sausages or juicy hamburgers. If you have time, we recommend you decant the wine 30 minutes to an hour before serving to release its complex aromas and flavors. Drinking deliciously already, it will continue to evolve nicely over the next 5-6 years with careful cellaring.