I had the opportunity to taste some wine at Newton Vineyard today, where I purchased a couple bottles of the 2006 Newton Claret. Wines like these are satisfying to discover, since they represent tremendous values at their price point. The Newton Claret retails for $25, which is practically unheard of here in Napa. Honestly, you can expect to pay that much, or more, for Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé.
The 2006 Newton Claret is definitely a wine to include alongside Chappellet’s 2005 Mountain Cuvee, also a fantastic wine at just $26. These two wines are neither life-changing nor are they flawed; quite simply, they are well-crafted, exhibiting pleasant flavors and just enough complexity, with soft enough tannins to drink tonight. Call them what you will — daily drinkers, pizza wines, patio pounders — they are essential to have on hand.
Of course, I should mention that the entire Newton portfolio was noteworthy. I tasted the 2002 Newton Unfiltered Merlot, which exhibited a Syrah-like gaminess, perhaps in part to its substantial dose of Petit Verdot. Additionally, the 2005 Newton Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon was also quite good, a combination of delicacy and depth that proved a bit more enjoyable than the Merlot.