Situated in the mountains above Conn Valley, near the base of Howell Mountain, the Buehler Vineyards estate vineyards are planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon. The juxtaposed topography of steeply sloped hillsides with eastern exposures against very gently sloping hills with southern and southwestern exposures hints at the tumultuous geologic past of the estate, where extensive faulting resulted in at least three distinct soil types. Not surprisingly, grapes grown on the different soils give different characteristics to the finished wines. These differences are often as great as the differences between various Bordeaux varieties, and allow the winery to blend within the variety of Cabernet Sauvignon to craft a truly multi-faceted estate wine. The wine was aged 18 months in barrels: 35% new French oak, 5% new American oak.
The aromas hint at black fruit: ripe black cherries and black plums. Enticing barrel qualities of cola and spice complement the fruit aromas. On the palate, the wine shows layers of deeply extracted flavours that only mature hillside vineyards can render. The “Estate” Cabernet is the most age-worthy wine Buehler produces and may be enjoyed anytime over the next 15 years. For those who seek youthful fresh Cabernet fruit aromas and a more structured wine, drink it through 2020. If you prefer the less fruity, more developed bottle bouquet aromas and a softer, more velvety wine on the palate, drink it from 2022-2034.
“Like Buehler’s 2016 Napa Valley Cabernet (also recommended here), this wine needs time to open with air. Its energy is immediately apparent in a sweet hive of mineral tannins. Air brings out its shape, its chewy fruit-skin tannins turning gentle and allowing the wine to buzz with honeyed richness, refreshed by acidity. Decant it for corned beef—especially the crispy bits along the edges.”
91 points and “Best Buy” Wine & Spirits, Dec 2018
“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is pliant and supple, with soft edges and silky tannins that push the fruit forward. Red cherry, plum, spice, mint, white chocolate and a hint of French oak shape this pretty, mid-weight Cabernet Sauvignon. Attractive floral and savoury notes add lift to the finish. The 2016 will be even better if the new oak subsides a bit. Even so, this is nicely done.”
91 points, Antonio Galloni vinous.com, Dec 2018
“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a solid charmer that has ample Cabernet character in its black, black fruits, earth, and herbal aromas and flavours. It’s medium-bodied, rounded, and forward, with sweet tannins and excellent purity of fruit.”
90 points, JebDunnuck.com, Jan 2019