A Stone’s Throw from Caymus and Staglin
After tasting Britt Nichols’ 2013 Rutherford Cab, we didn’t think the young enologist could climb much higher. Then came 2014, the year Wine Spectator called a “dream vintage,” and Robert Parker deemed, “excellent.” Squared up against it’s older sibling, Britt’s 2014 gets the nod. Tasted in a lineup of Rutherford heavyweights with higher profiles and much higher price tags, Britt’s 2014 still holds its own. That’s because it’s made from the same heavyweight fruit — a historic vineyard just a stone’s throw from Caymus and Staglin. As Britt told us, “Cabernet bottlings from this estate reach $125...easily.”
When we pressed her for details about the source, Britt’s lips were sealed by a lengthy non-disclosure agreement. Nor would she take much credit for her brilliant 2014. “In Rutherford, the weather was ideal for ripening,” Britt told us. “There was almost no pressure from rain or heat on the fruit, which came out perfectly — deep purple colors, thick skins, massive concentration. The wine practically made itself!”
Of course, we knew better than to be fooled by Britt’s humility. She has more pedigree than many winemakers twice her age, with time spent at Jordan Winery and alongside legends Nicolas Morlet and Philippe Melka. Like those of her mentors, Britt’s Cabernets are deep in color, rich, and intensely concentrated. Yet unlike all too many Napa Valley Cabernets, these are also wines of great class, sleekness, and polish. The 2014 Nichols Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford is hardly an exception. In fact, it may be her best yet.