6 Great Wine Lists
Where to go and what to buy off six great wine lists
Address: 587 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 94574
After a day of tasting current releases you might want a change of pace to enjoy over dinner, and something mature that can show the true potential of the Napa Valley seems quite fitting, even if it does represent a different era of winemaking. Fortunately that is the specialty of Press, mature Napa Cabernet in particular and while their list is packed with trophy wines, it’s also got more than a few hidden gems. First off let's plan our dinner, this is a steakhouse for all intents and purposes, which works well with the wine list’s focus of course.
So what’s for dinner then? Well I do love my grilled octopus, which can work quite well with older red wines, and then I want a steak and you can’t get any better meat than that from west coast wunder-butcher Bryan Flannery so let’s not fool around here! Let’s add in some sides, which are plenty big to share and this is the menu I’m having; now we just need to find the right wines to pair with it.
Grilled octopus with Rancho Gordo heirloom beans, Swiss chard,and micro celery $16
Bone in Dry aged rib-eye from Bryan Flannery $49
Loaded mini baked potatoes, and roasted Maitake mushrooms $12 and 416 respectively
This is the place for back vintage local reds so let's not screw around. We’re on a budget, which I’ve arbitrarily set at $150 a bottle, and while that might make things a bit tight there are plenty of options to choose from here. Among all the trophies I found stand out wines from several solid producers that will all deliver a lovely aged Napa Cabernet experience within our budget.
1982 Girard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley $130
1982 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain $150
1985 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain $140
1983 Ritchie Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley $150
1978 Ch Souverain $145
I think the 1990 La Jota is the pick of the bunch here, though I would certainly enjoy a well preserved bottle of any of these. If you would prefer something younger, or cheaper, the list has two great values from the very fine 2007 vintage. You could pick one, or the other, or opt for both, and still just about stay under budget while enjoying two of Napa Valley’s finest Cabernets. It’s actually a very interesting pairing, two near neighbors on Spring Mountain producing classic Cabernets!
2007 Ritchie Creek Cabernet Sauvignon $80
2007 Smith-Madrone cabernet Sauvignon $75
And finally, for those really looking for the gems here and willing to venture beyond the usual there are two wonderful wines on the list, both very reasonably priced and perfect for the menu. The first is Delia Viader’s Cabernet Franc heavy blend Viader from the 1992 vintage ($145). This is absolutely at peak and a fascinating wine that engages you with subtlety and elegance more than power. The second option is Turley's 2001 Library Vineyard Petite Sirah($95), which i admittedly have not had for several long years now but the last time I had a bottle is was a grilled steak lovers dream and given how Petite Sirah tends to fade slowly I would imagine that this bottle is holding up just fine.