Great Value Napa Cab: “Cult” Napa Valley Cabernet Saivignon

A few years ago we spent a wonderful Fall afternoon touring the Napa Valley. We were with friends who were the best kind of friends for this kind of adventure, because they were LOCALS. Locals know the best places to visit, and usually have a special relationship with winemakers and winery owners.

During our wonderful afternoon, our friends took us to a small, family-owned winery that owns premium real estate in the heart of Napa Valley. Salvestrin Winery sits on the valley floor in St. Helena, and is the home of third-generation grape growers Rich and Shannon Salvestrin. Rich was the first to decide to bottle wine under the family’s own label, and not long after the inaugural 1994 vintage, their Cabs started getting some very impressive ratings from the most influential critics in the business. And I mean really great ratings!cult

So fast-forward to yesterday, when I found a wine called Cult Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. “Cult” Cabernet is a wine that doesn’t fit the mold these days: it’s non-vintage! I wondered if that meant it was somehow sub-standard.


Cult Cabernet pours out like a big, rich Cab. The nose offers lots to work with: blackberries, blueberries, chocolate and a hint of spice.

The palate is rich and soft, with boatloads of ripe berries, chocolate and vanilla. And there’s structure — there’s depth on the palate  and  acid and tannins that attest to the quality of the grapes and the winemaker.

To cut to the chase, Cult Cabernet drinks like a $50 Napa Cab. It’s got “the stuff” up front, on the mid-palate and the finish. And it’s only $25! The happy surprise is that this quality effort is a huge bargain.

And to hark back to the beginning of my post — this great wine is made by Salvestrin, home of award-winning Napa Cabs. I salute Rich Salvestrin for offering up such a great wine at such a reasonable price. I look forward to more offerings. Cheers!

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