2014 Theory Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley


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Occasionally (and only occasionally), we’ll find a Napa Valley Cabernet that totally over-delivers for the price. It’s unfortunately not the most common experience these days, but it certainly makes finding a true value that much more thrilling!  It’s quite possible that in Theory, we may be looking at our Cabernet find of the year in the value category.

Theory is a small label based in St. Helena, created by Ryan Anderson-a former associate of the Alpha Omega winery on Highway 29. Anderson, who spent many vintages with AO, left to start this brand along with another higher-end project called The Debate. Although, Anderson’s days at AO are behind him, he uses his old employer’s barrels and tanks to make his wines. He sources the fruit from some of Napa’s most prestigious vineyards; there’s even some Beckstoffer Vineyard Cabernet in Theory. He also consults with Jean Hoefliger and Michel Rolland- two of Alpha-Omega’s winemaking forces- to make Theory.  Talk about a recipe for success!

Here’s a wine that exhibits many of the attributes far more common to the most elite of Napa Cabernets, not the entry-level. The best of the best vineyards for fruit, check. Elite winemaker and consultant, check. Top-notch winemaking facility, check.  Super expensive price tag?  Nope. Not even close! Polished and refined, this black-fruited beauty has an amazing texture on the palate as dusty and gravelly mineral opens onto a palate that finishes with burnished, really fine-grained tannins. This texture and these tannins, in particular, are two of the major benefit of working with the top vineyards in many different parts of Napa.  It’s pleasingly rich and the texture lends itself perfectly to the immense cassis, blackberry and black raspberry fruit that coat the mouth. All of this evolves into roasted coffee, chopped sage and a persistent toasted cedar finish, too. Theory is a screaming value for anyone needing that Tuesday night Cabernet to fill the cellar. I bet it’ll more than please the most picky of Napa Cab drinkers, too!