Tudal Family Winery2004 Cabernet Sauvignon , Clift Vineyard
(Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley)
Get on the phone now. E-mail ASAP. Because the only way you can get this wine – let’s call it the best Cabernet bargain in the Napa Valley – is through the winery. While all around the Tudal Winery north of St. Helena, they’re getting 50 bucks or more for their Cabernet, Tudal’s is half the price.
While other Napa Valley vineyard-designates command scads more, Tudal can’t command those prices. Although it’s been around since the early ‘70s, the winery hasn’t lived up to its potential since the early days of founder and winemaker Arnold Tudal. His son John took over and is bringing in some high-profile consultants and trying to garner a reputation worthy of its address.
That’s why you’ve got to get this wine now before the prices go up. Winemaker Ron Vuylsteke has worked out a long-term contract with Tom Clift, whose less-than-two-acre Oak Knoll District vineyard is planted all to Cab, from which he’s made Tudal’s first single-vineyard wine.
There are sweet oak and baking spices in the nose, while cherry predominates on the palate. It’s soft and lovely with excellent balance. It’s wonderfully made and gives you everything you’d want in a world-class wine. The tannins are fine-grained and there’s a mineral and green olive complexity. The fruit manifests in red varieties, typical for the appellation; and is responsible for the stated alcohol of 13.8 percent. Drink it now and over the ensuing eight years. There were only a little less than 200 cases produced, so don't wait on this one.
Reviewed October 19, 2007 by Alan Goldfarb.
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.