91 Insider Points
As Jimi Would Say, Are You Experienced?
Cue the solo, this is a rockin' Cab for a fun Saturday night. Maybe you're hanging with the boys, or having a girls night in, and need something to add to the party. I brought this wine to a friend's house for game night, and it was a big hit. I was the hero of the night (as I often am, but hey, I'm awesome like that).
A raspberry & graphite nose to start us off. It shows a full-bodied palate with big jam fruits- blackberry, red currant, earthy tobacco and espresso bean. The finish shows fresh earth with medium length. I brought it once and I'll bring it again.
91 Points - JZ January '18
92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petite Syrah, 3% Merlot
Oakville & Rutherford, Napa Valley
20 months in combination of 45% New French Oak and 55% neutral French Oak.
(6-bottle case offering)
Sipping a wine at the source, before you buy—nothing beats the experience. Certainly, regular trips to winery tasting rooms are a sure-fire method for getting delicious wine in the style you love.
And buying online? The risk is real—whether shopping for shampoo or Chardonnay, there are no guarantees of a positive experience. Let alone a fantastic experience. One that leaves you satisfied. Maybe even breathless.
Using his industry connections, a local and for now anonymous winemaker privileged with access to premium Napa fruit has taken the risk and guesswork out of the equation, providing what may very well be the closest experience to tasting at a winery itself—along with a staggering deal on Napa Cabernet.
We love the juicy, pie-spiced fruit, the warm cedar notes, and the milk chocolatey finish. The wine’s gorgeous label doesn’t hurt, either. This Cabernet features classic aromas of blackberry, black currant and cassis with a rich and warm palate, a silky mouthfeel and soft, lingering tannins.
Four reasons we love it:
- Napa Cabernet Sauvignons from 2011 tends to be more elegant and food-friendly than in riper vintages, showing more hallmarks associated with the Old World Cabs and Clarets from Bordeaux.
- This Napa Cab comes from fruit grown in two of the valley’s top AVAs—Oakville and Rutherford.
- Founded in 2010 Refuge Wines made a name for itself as a premium supplier of locally made wines thanks to the success of Experience—Refuge’s first release.
- Refuge Wine’s relationship with growers extends back much farther than 2010, however. The folks behind this family-owned operation have worked with quality vineyards across Napa and Sonoma for more than 20 years.
Classic Cabernet aromas of blackberry, black currant, cassis, and dried violets shine with cocoa, toasted coconut, and baking spices ina supporting role. On the palate, the wine is rich and nicely balanced with a silky mouthfeel and soft tannins, and flavors of sweet blackberry, black pepper, and aromatic cedar. A lingering, spicy finish with flavors of blackberry and cassis round out the wine.
Experience wine is the dream of Catherine and Travis Vale. Travis was born and raised in the Russian River Valley of California’s Sonoma Coast. He first worked a harvest in 1998, falling in love with the sights and sounds of a working winery. The daughter of a master brewer, Catherine was born and raised in London.
The two met in 2001 while both were traveling in New Zealand. Travis was furthering his education in the cooler climate growing regions of Marlborough. Catherine was finishing up a six-month tour of Southeast Asia and Australia. The tour bus they shared was aptly named Experience New Zealand.
“That chance meeting far from our homes was a turning point in our lives,” says Catherine.
Immediately drawn to each other, the two married in 2004 and made their home in the Napa Valley. Travis worked at a family-owned winery while Catherine accepted a position with drinks giant Diageo Chateau and Estates. In 2010 they struck out on their own journey of growing grapes and launching a new wine brand. Naming the fledgling wine Experience seemed a perfect fit.
Catherine and Travis have been blessed with three daughters. Their business is truly a family affair with everyone pitching in when needed. The family’s core belief is to enjoy the journey and not focus on the destination. Life is a series of incredible opportunities to embrace, explore and experience. This is the essence of what makes Experience a special wine now and in the future.
Pair this wine with mature and hard cheese, lamb, beef, and poultry.