The Napa Valley is recognized by collectors and critics alike as one of the most excellent places on earth to grow and vinify the noble Cabernet Sauvignon grape. In the last two decades, the region has enjoyed successful vintage after successful vintage with Mother Nature giving top winemakers every opportunity to make the best wine possible. We have collected a few of the best vintages of Napa Valley Cabernet, both ready to drink now and perfect for holding in your cellar! Use this guide to reference growing conditions and vintage characteristics for each year. Enjoy!

Drink Now

1994- A High Scoring Vintage At Its Full Potential

Average Score: 97 pts

A warm spring gave a jump on bud break, bloom, and verasion, but was followed by a mild summer and slow ripening. Chilly harvest days further helped to maintain acidity to balance the very ripe fruit. Wines were showy when young, and have aged exceptionally well. In our opinion, this is one of the best drinking vintages of Napa Cabernet right now! Structure has resolved, leaving complex and supple wines that are an absolute joy.

1995- Fresh, Structured, And Ready To Enjoy

Average Score: 97 pts

A wet, cool winter contributed to a late start in the growing season but was then punctuated by intense heat in the middle of the summer. While the growing conditions were not ideal, this vintage managed to produce surprisingly balanced, yet structured wines – many critics consider the vintage to be equal to 1994, but very different in style. Our recent tastings have shown wines that are still quite fresh, with more than enough structure to carry another decade.

1997- High-Scoring, Rich, Opulent Drinkers

Average Score: 99 pts

An early spring followed by a cool, even summer had winemakers smiling throughout the valley through July. A warming trend in late August and early September put a punctuation mark on the season, accelerating the fruit to ripeness. A massive crop of rich, opulent fruit was the result, producing some of the biggest wines of the decade. If you enjoy larger-framed, fruit-forward wines, 1997 is your vintage. Many wines are still quite young, but the prevailing modern style of many allows for early drinking!

Drink Later

2007- The ‘Perfect’ Vintage

Average Score: 97 pts

In the tradition of 1994 and 2002, ‘perfect’ seems to be the favorite adjective of winemakers and critics when describing growing conditions. Critics continue to expound love letters to this vintage with every bottle that they taste, and there is no doubt that examples of this vintage will be sought-after for decades to come. The wines are lush and opulent, already drinking well, and will most likely continue to do so for the next two decades.

2013- A Dream Vintage

Average Score: 97 pts

2013 was a dream vintage for winemakers in Napa Valley, producing Cabernet Sauvignon. A dry, long sunny summer allowed for the earliest harvest in more than 25 years and an overall ideal growing season. The clean, balanced fruit generated opulence and complexity in what was thought to be a more superior year than 2012. Critics and consumers alike have agreed that 2013 is one of the best vintages of Napa Cabernet in history.

2014- Beautiful Wines For Your Cellar

Average Score: 95 pts

Napa Valley’s infamous cyclical drought was in its third year in 2014, which resulted in an early harvest once again. The fruit thrived during the stable growing season and was reminiscent of the 2013 summer but with cooler nights. With lower temperatures at night, brighter acidity is evident in the wines from 2014 as well as aromatic expression and rich, striking tannin. Early tastings have shown how beautiful these wines are currently as well as their potential for long aging in your cellar.

A History Of Success

As many would agree, there truly is no place like the Napa Valley! Each vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon providing its unique reflection of the year. While these are a few of our favorite vintages, there are countless vintages which have provided just as much success. Explore our breakdown of every vintage of Napa Cabernet from 1990 and on here!

Do you have a favorite vintage of Napa Valley Cabernet? We want to know!

Established in 2002, Benchmark Wine Group is the leading source of fine and rare wine retailers, restaurants and collectors around the world. Based in Napa Valley, we acquire the most sought-after wines from private individuals and professional contacts, but only when provenance can be verified by our team of acquisition professionals. Our staff draws on decades of industry experience and is dedicated to providing exceptional service to all of our clients. offers 24-hour access to our cellar, displaying inventory in real-time.