Buys under $75, Red; Mostly Napa Cabs, Tastings

Going Vertical With Edict Reserve Cab

2014, 2018 Vintages Tops in Vertical Tasting

We’ve been buying Edict Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet for years, since the 2010 release. Dependably delicious and well-priced [$40ish] when compared with Napa Cabs that sell for twice the price, we amassed quite a collection of Edict vintages over time. When Napa Cab-loving friends came to visit, we set up a vertical tasting of five releases from 2014 and from 2016 through 2019. Sadly, the 2015 was nowhere to be found in the cellar and was likely devoured a few years back.

The point of the vertical tasting? Curiosity, really. Do wines from the same vineyards, crafted by the same winemaker—the celebrated Julien Fayard, from such hallowed brands as Lafitte Rothschild and Philippe Melka—carry the same profile? What role does weather play or the amount of time in the bottle? If professional wine critics consistently rate the Edict Napa Cab between 4.1 and 4.3 every year, are the critics rubber-stamping wine they assume will be reliably good?

The short answer: Maybe the critics have gotten lazy. Our panel of wine-loving amateurs [the blue bar, above] found far more variation across the vintages than the pros did. While the critics’ ratings never dropped below 4.1, our votes ranged from 3.1 to 4.4. The two vintages where our panel aligned most with the professional critics:

  • Edict Reserve Napa Cab 2014 – @$55
    [no surprise; more aging time and excellent growing season]
  • Edict Reserve Napa Cab 2018 – @$50

Conclusions?  Edict puts out a consistently good product at reasonable [for Napa] prices. The critics may rave about every vintage and assign them virtually identical ratings, but we found enough variability to caution against rubber stamping. Buy the 2014 and 2018 vintages and enjoy them as we did.

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