Bevan Cellars Tench Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon - 2019 (750ml)

Bevan Cellars Tench Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon - 2019 (750ml)

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98 Points, Wine Advocate:

"The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Tench Vineyard is a stunning example of eastern Oakville Cabernet. It's loaded with scents of cassis and red plum and tinged with faint hints of thyme and sage, and it's full-bodied, rich and relatively open-knit. Ripe, plush and layered, gently framed by cedar and vanilla, it's lovely stuff that should drink well for up to two decades.

As long as I've known Russell Bevan he's been larger than life. Who else would have the balls to call himself "Bacchus" on the Wine Spectator forums (back before they had a real-name policy)? Years before he was a lauded winemaker, he was a Minnesota-based salesman hawking dental equipment all over the country. When I first met him, during one of his visits to the Philadelphia area, it was a whistle-stop on his "Bacchus Zin Tour," where he would fly into a city with a case of Zinfandel and meet up with a bunch of similarly wine-crazed locals for an evening of excess. It was the late 1990s, before either one of us had a professional stake in either winemaking or wine writing, and yet there we were, with another dozen people we had never met before, in a suburban restaurant drinking wine and talking about it reverently but loudly. Each one of us "locals" (I had driven two-plus hours to be there) brought two or three Zins—in my case, a bottle of Limerick Lane Collins Vineyard, a bottle of Blockhead Ringnosii (I think, not sure of this one) and a half bottle of a late-harvest version from Cline. Among the wines Bevan showed up with were a couple of bottles from an amateur by the name of Mike Officer (now Carlisle Winery & Vineyards) who was making wine in a Sonoma garage. I've tried my best to put aside our 25-year history when evaluating these wines, but I mention this just by way of disclaimer, in case any readers find my ratings for Bevan's wines overly generous (although I think they are comparable, across the board, to the ratings given by my predecessors at RPWA). Bevan makes full-throttle, ultra-ripe Napa Valley Cabernets and blends that reflect their maker's personality. Big, expansive and never shy, these are wines that represent a different side of Napa than more classical, restrained Cabernets, but they have earned their place as part of the Valley's culture for their exuberance and bold, hedonistic flavors. All of the wines are never acidified or have tannins added, but Bevan isn't a technophobe, and he uses cultured yeasts (three different strains) and bacteria, plus he adds yeast nutrients when he feels they're necessary, and he keeps fermentation temperatures low, never going above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. He presses to barrel just before primary fermentation is completed, "for better oak integration," a trick he says he learned from a Wine Spectator article that referenced Helen Turley's practices. Favored coopers include Darnajou and Taransaud, but Bevan now strives not to use more than 40% of any cooper's barrels in any single wine. These wines may not be for everyone, or for every occasion, but in the right place, at the right time, they scratch a certain primal itch for their sheer deliciousness." - Joe Czerwinski

Published: May 31, 2022

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