This outstanding find hails from one of Napa Valley's most highly rated Cabernet vintages and a tiny, family-owned estate with a history of award-winning wines.
Napa Valley gained prominence after the famous Judgement of Paris Tasting in 1976. The wines that catapulted the region into the spotlight were made on small estates owned by farmers with a real sense of community, and a casual style that was quite the opposite of the famous French châteaux they competed against.
While much of Napa may now be dominated by large, corporate wineries, you can still find tiny estates making wines in this pioneering spirit … if you know where to look. Our woman on the ground, Clare Tooley, found just such a place in the picturesque, rolling hills in the southern reaches of the valley – hence the name for this exclusive Cabernet.
Bob Mueller has been quietly crafting award-winning wines in Napa for over 40 years – and founded his own winery with his wife, Karen McKenzie, in 1989. They make just 3,000 cases a year, across seven different grape varieties. At their tasting room – housed in a quaint, old red barn – Clare was particularly taken with their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. Perhaps it's no surprise, given that Wine Spectator rates Napa's 2010 vintage 98 Points overall for Cabernet (noting wines of "exceptional quality" that are "tight, dense and layered").
Over to Clare for what to expect in the glass: "This elegant and charming Cab is made with estate-grown fruit from the Mueller's Oak Knoll and Carneros vineyards. It boasts top notes of ripe cassis and cherry that are supported and prolonged by smoothly integrated tannins from 24 months spent in fine oak barrels. There's also a touch of spice and pepper from the slightly cooler southern vineyards. Decant this wine an hour (or more) ahead of serving with hearty fare like rib-eye steak or roasted rack of lamb. Enjoy now or over the next five-plus years."
As you'd imagine, there are very few cases of Rolling Valley Cabernet to go around. At this price, you'd better be quick.