A Collector’s Steal From a Cabernet Master
In the rarified world of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon some of the hardest wines to acquire are those crafted by superstar winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown, whose current trophy case boasts more than 25 perfect 100-point wines and uber-cult clients like Maybach, Seaver, and, most notably, Schrader Cellars. Working closely over the years with famed growers David Abreu and Jim Barbour, Brown has helped launch wineries into the cult wine stratosphere. But via Brown and Barbour’s collaboration with Jones Family Vineyards of Calistoga, this 2013 Jones “The Sisters” Cabernet Sauvignon delivers Thomas Rivers Brown cult wine quality for only $79 — a fraction of the price of his other clients’ bottlings. Made in a more forward, red-fruit style, the 2013 “The Sisters” earned 93 points from James Suckling who called it “very pretty and complex“ while Antonio Galloni praised its “rich, juicy and accessible” profile that “captures the energy of the vintage in spades,” before pinning on 92. Our advice: this is one of your best opportunities to sample Brown’s expertise at an under-$100 price-point. Don’t delay.
To maximize the quality of Jones Family fruit grown at the base of Howell Mountain, Brown and Barbour work closely together to limit yields across the 10-acre hillside estate proprietor Rick Jones began planting in the early 90s. Three unique blocks comprise the rocky, volcanic estate, with the younger Cabernet vines reserved for The Sisters.
“They’re great folks,” Thomas Brown said in a 2015 interview, after several years of partnering with Rick Jones and his family. “It’s been a pleasure working with those guys. It’s always quality first.” What the celebrated winemaker has achieved with The Sisters in the monumental 2013 vintage neatly sums up his experience with Jones Family Vineyards: from lovingly tended Calistoga vines, he has made yet another accessible blockbuster, a cellar-worthy Napa Valley Cabernet that won’t break any collector’s bank.
But perhaps Kelli A. White said it best in her book Napa Valley Then & Now: “Jones Family Vineyards has been consistently producing truly great Cabernet Sauvignon since their inaugural 1996 vintage. These rich, luxurious wines have much in common with the ‘cult’ labels of Napa Valley with one critical exception: the price. For lovers of impactful Napa Valley Cabernet, there are few greater values available than Jones.”