91 Insider Points

REVIEWS

Nose of blackberry, plum, cassis, and mocha.  Fruit carries to the palate with layers of allspice, cherry, and sweet vanilla.  Lower alcohol than most Napa Cabs and great acidity make this a good bet with food. Nice structure and a long, fruit-driven finish. Drink now and over the next several years. -TW


INSIDE FACT: Inspired by the definition of axis (“an imaginary line about which a body rotates”), Axis is the embodiment of the core concepts that lie at the heart of fine winemaking: selecting varietals from regions in which they thrive, sticking to eco-conscious production practices, and finding the happy balance between high quality and reasonable pricing.

WHY WE LOVE IT
  • BLEND
    Cabernet Sauvignon
  • APPELLATION
    Napa Valley
  • ALCOHOL
    13.80%
  • SIZE
    750ml
  • AGING/COOPERAGE
    French Oak

Jumbo shrimp. Deafening silence. Found missing. On our list of oxymorons, “sub-$15 Napa Cab” lands pretty near the top. Yet here it is: an impressively made wine from some of the finest vineyards in this famous appellation, with an array of popular, food-friendly characteristics. By sourcing fruit from spectacular parcels negociant-style, Axis puts out, hands down, the best values on the marketplace today—no wonder it’s our single most-requested brand for redux. We’re thinking of another oxymoron to describe this Cab: awfully good.


Four reasons we love it:

Napa’s Magnificent Bounty. Thanks to its diversity of exposure, climate, and soil, Napa has become an ideal home for Cabernet Sauvignon. Grapes from the southwest vineyards, cooled by the San Pablo breezes, lend firm structure and grip, while grapes from warmer, more northerly vineyards add richness and dark fruit flavors.

Lovingly Oaked. The fruit saw cold-soak maceration prior to fermentation, followed by two years of aging in a combination of new and old French oak barrels. After blending, a portion of the wine is racked back into French oak to attain additional oak notes.

Crowd-Pleasing Profile. Axis has its origins in the rich tapestry of California microclimates and eco-friendly production that fuses Old World elegance and New World appeal to please a wide range of wine lovers.

Delicious QPR. Blackberry, currant, toasty almond, and tealeaf join in what our Panel calls “an unreasonably good deal for Napa Cab.” Lower in alcohol content than most, it's especially tasty with a braised sirloin alongside wild rice in a mushroom sauce.

TASTING NOTES 

The color is an intense, deep red with touches of dark chocolate and purple hues. The rich nose shows blackberry with subtle notes of black tea, cassis, toasted almond, and tobacco accented by dried tomato, plum, and leather. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied and silky with a supple mouthfeel and long finish; notice the strong aftertaste of marmalade.

THE STORY TO KNOW

Axis is a collaborative effort between Gruppo Mezzacorona and Sonoma Wine Company, a producer of distinctive wines that has long-standing relationships with the region’s premier grape growers. The relationship between Sonoma Wine Company and Gruppo Mezzacorona developed through the professional friendship between their respective winemakers. These two companies have further strengthened their relationship by combining their Old World and New World knowledge to create the Axis brand, a brand that will give shape to this collective knowledge well into the future.

Each bottle conveys the dedication to the central principals of winemaking, core principles that bring together Italy and California in their appreciation of the inherent personality of each varietal and each appellation. Whether varietal selection or packaging decisions, all of the day-to-day activities of Axis revolve around this fundamental focus.

Axis has its origins in the rich diversity of microclimates, each with its own signature characteristics. As a result, Axis takes advantage of the microclimates by selecting varietals only from the regions in which they thrive. Axis hopes wine consumers will taste the distinctive attention given to each varietal and the flavors of the unique appellation. At the heart of Axis is a dedication to protecting the environment through eco-friendly production practices. Axis production facilities are continually reducing their carbon footprint through improved energy efficiency and better water management. In addition, the production facilities are honoring a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more here.

PERFECT PAIRINGS

Wild game, filet mignon, New York strip steak, pasta with rich, meat-based sauces, and aged cheese will all match well.