We were first introduced to the boutique wines from winemaker Casey Stringer back in February of this year. We were so smitten with all of the STRINGER wines that we quickly ordered the highly allocated amount we could get our hands on and put a zoom tasting on the calendar.
Casey Stringer was a highschooler from Wisconsin traveling to California with his parents to visit colleges in the Bay area. Due to an unfortunate passing of a distant relative who they had planned to visit during the trip, they had a gap in their schedule. They decided to head to the Napa Valley, a place that they had all certainly heard about, but knew little about. He and his father Chip were taken with Napa’s laid-back lifestyle, vineyard filled landscapes and the wines. Casey knew then that his path in life will be with wine. Back at home in Wisconsin with those memories still fresh, Casey picked up a job at a local wine shop to begin learning all he could while Chip began collecting wines both from Napa and around the world.
Casey did end up going to college in California, but in Santa Barbara where he studied photography. He immediately got a job as a cellar hand at a local winery where he soon realized that he wanted to spend his time in the cellar and vineyards and not in photography school. Throughout his twenties, Casey traveled both near and abroad seeking different experiences in winemaking. He worked at Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Napa, Archery Summit in Oregon and a few wineries in Central Otago and Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, where he attended school for a formal winemaking education. Upon returning to California, Casey worked in the cellar at the esteemed Santa Ynez cult winery Jonata.
While visiting his family in Wisconsin he met a girl, and as the story goes, decided to stay put and get married. While this seemed like a detour in his winemaking journey, the wine bug was still firmly planted. Casey reached out to his California connections and began shipping premium West Coast fruit to Wisconsin and making what was arguably Wisconsin’s best-ever wine produced in a garage, but as he says, that wasn’t a sustainable business model. So it was back to the vines in California with his wife, Brooke, and their two young boys in tow.
Stringer Cellars now makes their wine high up on Atlas Peak in the Napa Valley and at winery in the heart of Sonoma County. It’s a whole family affair: Casey serves as lead winemaker, Chip oversees operations, his brothers, Andrew and Tim, help with marketing and sales and his wife, Brooke can often be found pouring tastings behind the bar. Their winemaking philosophy is simple: Use the finest grapes they can find from the best vineyard sites in California to make small lot wines you will not soon forget. Casey employs minimalist winemaking techniques, allowing the fruit and individual vineyards to shine through in each bottle.
Simply stated, all of Casey's wines are good, great in fact. But one wine really stood out for us this year, the Stringer 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet.
This Cabernet Sauvignon is blend of the cabernet vineyards that Casey sources fruit from - in Rutherford, the Stagecoach Vineyard and a vineyard at the base of Howell Mountain - all represented in the final blend.
The hand-picked fruit is all de-stemmed and fermented in new 60-gallon French oak barrels. The wine stayed on its skins for an average of 21 days before being pressed. This delightful Napa Cabernet is made in a rich modern style with silky tannins and red fruit to spare. The wine shows class and purity. While attractive in its youth it will only become more refined as it matures. But we personally believe it's drinking beautifully now.
96% Cabernet Sauvignon 4% Petit Verdot
It's #2 on our list and a gorgeous bottle to enjoy this Thanksgiving. At last, a great ~60 dollar Napa cab, amongst the sea of Napa red that ranges from $125-250 these days...
I'm grateful for folks like Casey Stringer - he keeps it real, and his passion and authenticity makes me excited about coming to work every day.
It's #1 on our list.