Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2016

Deep ruby color; black cherries, plum, cassis cedar, graphite, spice on the nose; black cherry, blackcurrant, plum, blackberry, chocolate, spice, vanilla, black pepper on the palate.

Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2016

Dry; firm, round, integrated tannins, oak, acidity (3.66 pH). Medium-full body. Blend of 84% cabernet sauvignon, 9% petite sirah, 5% petit verdot, 1% merlot, 1% malbec. Aged in 30% new French and American oak; deftly done—the oak provides a frame for the very rich and vivid fruits without striving to play a major role in the overall performance. Impressively long finish.

This is powerhouse play with all the bells and whistles you look for in a serious Napa cab. It works on pop-and-pour, but becomes more integrated, rounded, and approachable after decanting. Balanced, cellar if you wish for five-plus years to give it even smoother, integrated character. Or decant as I did if you don’t have the patience to wait. Focused, rich, tasty dark fruit. Comes nowhere close to being a jammy fruit bomb. Easy drinker for this level of Napa cab. 15.1% ABV

The winery’s tasting notes: “The grapes were carefully harvested and destemmed, then transferred to upright tanks for a three to four-day cold soak. The must saw 15 to 20 days of skin contact and was pumped over two to three times a day. Each lot was aged and evaluated separately, with the final blend taking place in February 2018. In total, the wine was aged for 21 months in a combination of French and American oak barrels (30% new).”

Martini winery entrance

Louis M. Martini is a big-production winery that consistently delivers and often over-delivers. The winery was founded in 1933 by Louis M. Martini. The Martini family’s grape legacy goes back to 1911, when Louis M. made wine in a rented facility. During Prohibition, Louis M. produced sacramental and medicinal wine, as well as grape concentrate for legal in-home winemaking. The L.M. Martini Grape Products Company came to Napa in 1933 as one of the original five Napa post-Prohibition wineries. Martini added acreage in Sonoma’s Mayacama Mountains in 1938. In more recent times, it was led by third-generation vintner Mike Martini.

Louis M. Martini winemaker Michael Eddy

The Martini family owned and innovated until 2002, when the Gallo family purchased the winery and vineyards, but Gallo wisely kept Martini personnel, including Mike Martini, in the mix. The result is a range of superb wines rooted in two iconic Italian-American family traditions. Martini began to phase out in 2014, handing over full responsibilities to Michael Eddy in 2015. So this is Eddy wine with Mike Martini influence.

Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2016 delivers silky mouthfeel, especially after decanting. Harmonious blend of Bordeaux grapes and French and American oak. Dark fruit statement. Good QPR (quality-price ratio) for a Napa cab at this level of quality. Louis M. Martini is part of E.J. Gallo’s portfolio, so there is wide distribution. You also can order this and higher levels of their cabs at their online store. Pair with major beef cuts—from filet mignon to slow-cooked brisket; lamb, grilled lamb chops; venison; tomato-based pasta dishes; comfort food—hamburgers, meatloaf, pizza, chili. $40

Louis Martini website

Louis M Martini vineyard
Louis M Martini harvest
Louis M Martini tasting room entrance
Louis M Martini tasting area and barrel room
Michael Martini