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-7-For wine information, please see www.village-cellars.co.jp.Do you know about the hidden gem of Napa Valley, Pritchard Hill? Located in the mountain range on the east side of Napa Valley, about 400m above sea level, it has been producing wine since the 1960s, but is still not recognised as an AVA. Higher than the fog line on the west-facing side of the range, Pritchard Hill ripens well in the strong afternoon sun. However, due to the altitude and the sharp drop in temperature at night, the grapes don’t ripen quickly, allowing a long hang time. As a result the phenolics, the source of a wine’s aroma, ripen very well. When I visited in 2017, I had the opportunity to have dinner on Pritchard Hill, and was surprised at how the temperature dropped after the sun went down. If the wine on the valley oor is fruit-dominated, full-bodied and glamorous, Pritchard Hill adds a strong backbone, giving it a rmer body. It’s just like a bodybuilder with beautifully dened muscles and superuous esh removed.The attractions of Valley and Mountain Cabs vary, depending on their location, and their appeal largely depends largely on the preferences of the drinker. It’s hard for me to make sweeping suggestions, but for people who drink wine only occasionally, a Cab with a fruity predominance and a faintly sweet note is often appealing. On the other hand, wine lovers and sommeliers who drink wine every day tend to seek lightness, so it is preferable to have structure with a touch of bitterness. In wrapping up this tasting, what is important to note is the individuality of the wine reects their specic location in Napa rather than whether it is 100% Cabernet or a blend. If you take this approach in recommending wines to customers, you can produce more hits and achieve a higher batter (sommelier) average. Good luck!CODE11477RRP ¥5,600Origin: Napa Valley, California. Alc. 15.2%Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon 44%, Merlot 33%, Malbec 10%, Petit Verdot 8%, Cabernet Franc 5%Chapellet Mountain Cuvee 2018CODE11382RRP ¥5,000Origin: Napa Valley, CaliforniaVariety: Cabernet Sauvignon 100%. Alc. 14.8%Madison’s Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018    A sense of concentration is apparent in the colour, the bright purple hues on the edge spark the ‘desire to drink’. The scents of plums and liquorice are complemented by sweet notes of vanilla and cloves. The rich aroma is reminiscent of a tart with various berries layered with cream and pastry. In the mouth it has volume, with chewy tannins, and a smooth texture that shows the quality of the grapes. From the hottest parts of Napa, with fruit from Helena (50%) and Oak Knoll (50%) on the valley oor, this Cab shows fruit-dominant ‘friendliness’. However, it nishes with a cohe-sive solid drinkability characteristic of 100% Cabernet.From its strong colour, you can instantly see it is a full-bodied wine with ample polyphenols. From the high-impact top nose, in addition to black fruits, you’ll sense minerals such as graphite reminiscent of rugged rocks. As you go in deeper, there are also herbs such as sage and thyme, forming layers of aroma. Although it is tight and condensed, this style belies the actual taste. The strong acidity tightens the body and exudes a coolness, and the high-altitude mountain Cab characteristics are apparent, with sharp notes that only reveal themselves on the lingering nish. It perfectly embodies the ‘heavy but light’ characteristic of high-end wines in the Napa Valley. This is not only determined by the characters of the blend’s varieties ‒ it truly represents Pritchard Hill terroir. MOUNTAINS | from Pritchard HillVALLEY FLOOR | from St. Helena & Oak KnollTasting CommentTasting CommentMajor price reduction from March 1CALFORNIA. For top millennial sommelier Taku Iguro, the winner of the 9th All Japan Best Sommelier Competition in 2020, the individuality of each wine in this 4 California ‘Cabs’ (Cabernet Sauvignon) tasting highlights the different provenance of the region each wine comes from. His relaxed style of tasting comments captures these differences. He says, “each of the wines is different and equally good in its own way. I hope you find a wine that suits your palate.”CALIFORNIATasting 4 ‘Cabs’ with up-and-coming sommelier Taku Iguro Taku IguroNapa Valley ‒ the Glamourous & the Bodybuilder CabsExcellent value! Taku Iguro's recommended Central Coast Cab!NAPA VALLEY’S HIDDEN GEM…Monterey County is said to have the fruitiness of the New World in its acidity, and tannins of the Old World. The impression here is light and gentle compared to Napa. However, the California sun is alive and well in the sweet and rich mixed berries, cocoa powder, milk chocolate, etc. and a Cab-specic minty touch. It tightens if you cool it down to serve, and the balance is just right.CODE10918RRP ¥2,800Origin: Monterey County, CaliforniaVariety: Cabernet Sauvignon 100%. Alc. 13.0%District 7 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016(screw cap)NORTH CENTRAL COAST | from Montrey CountyPaso Robles actually has a lot of good ‘Cabs’, with many producers saying the ‘next world-class Cabernet’ will come from here due to the major temperature dierence between day and night. Black fruits with a condensed feeling, rocky minerality, and strong tannin astringency. The aftertaste is reminiscent of bitter chocolate. The power that comes from the solid body structure is comparable to Napa Valley.CODE11289RRP ¥2,960Origin: Paso Robles, CaliforniaVariety: Cabernet Sauvignon 100%. Alc. 14.2%FoxgloveCabernet Sauvignon 2018SOUTH CENTRAL COAST | from Paso RoblesTasting CommentTasting Comment* Click here for an interview with Chapellet winemaker Phillip Titus, “Growing and Maturing an Iconic Reputation as a Pioneer of Mountain Cabernet on Pritchard Hill” (Village Cellars Wine Catalogue, Spring 2020).Photo: Tadayuki Yanagi

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