By Eduardo Dingler, Sommelier and America’s Top Saké Expert
California Cab lovers, memorize the name Maayan Koschitzky. He is the winemaker generating the most buzz in the Valley as “The Next Big Thing”.
His first job in Napa Valley was at Screaming Eagle. Then he was director of winemaking for Philippe Melka at Atelier Melka and Melka Wines. Now, he is calling the shots at On Q, and his expert touch has spread some royal Cabernet DNA to the tiny-production 2015 On Q Cadence Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville.
Koschitzky took the reins of On Q from the renowned Julien Fayard, who had also honed his craft under Melka before making massive waves with his own brands. That notion—that nothing but the best will do at On Q—is exactly what we sensed when we first tasted the 2015 Cadence Cabernet Sauvignon by the glass at Morimoto in Napa. Sourced from the On Q property in the sub-AVA of Coombsville, the 2015 hails from a 97-point vintage in Napa. It is a deep and dense purple, showing tons of cassis and crushed violets, a sleek but muscular mouthfeel, and bassy espresso and tobacco notes. Don’t miss out: the 2015 On Q Cadence Cabernet is the handiwork of a rising star, at a price that, in a few years, will leave you shaking your head. $59.99 on 6 or more, shipping included on 2.
There is the Napa everybody knows—Mondavi Private Reserve, Caymus Special Select, and the big names that won the Judgment of Paris and put Napa Valley on the map—and there is the Napa that the insiders know. The valley where accomplished winemakers responsible for headline-grabbing, big-name wines, sneak off and produce tiny bottlings that rarely see a retail shelf or a restaurant wine list: Wines like On Q, the label started by Napa native Steve Brady. After starting off making his own wines, Brady eventually raised On Q’s game by hiring Julien Fayard, now one of Napa’s most renowned Cabernet craftsmen. Fayard eventually passed the torch to another rising star whose resume bears some of the most formidable names in Napa: Maayan Koschitzky.
On Q wine is a Napa insider steal, through and through: Hailing from one of Napa’s greatest vintages in memory, the fruit is sourced from Coombsville, the up-and-coming AVA whose profile has been raised by another Screaming Eagle alum, Andy Erickson, who along with his wife Annie Favia choice to base their flagship Favia brand there. Koschitzky ferments 100% Cabernet Sauvignon in stainless steel, then gives it a luxurious 27 months in 60 percent new French oak.
Brady and Koschitzky produced a mere 242 cases of Cadence, and a good portion of those go to Morimoto, the Napa mainstay restaurant where it is featured by the glass. That’s where we first experienced it: the dark red and black fruits, the dense and elegant mouthfeel, and the bass note of espresso and tobacco. It is classic, small production Napa Cabernet, and the next time you’re in the Valley, you can give it a try at Morimoto—for $30 a glass. Or get it on Wine Access for just $59.99 on 6 or more bottles.