The Dozen Vol. 27 No. 05

The Dozen – Comeback Trail

As Newton rebuilds, new releases from before and after the 2020 wildfire.


In the fall of 2020, after the crop had been harvested, the Newton Vineyards winery on Spring Mountain was destroyed by wildfires and its vineyards. The 2020 unprocessed fruit and two-thirds of its 2019 in the cellar were also lost. While Newton was not the only winery or crop destroyed in that fire, it, along with Cain, was perhaps the most beautiful and significant one lost. Fortunately, it is owned by Moet-Hennessey, and the rebuilding and replanting are well underway. Today Newton is solidly on the comeback trail.

We have in this The Dozen four Newton red wines made before the fire, as well as their signature white made afterward. Additionally, we have from Argentina two of Newton’s sister wines from Terrazas, also a Chandon property.

We also explore another half-dozen wines of interest. So go grab a straw.

2021 Babich “Select Blocks” Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($16). A delightful wine for the price – or any price – with great mouth feel, crisp yet creamy ripe green fruits and a handful of almonds in the finish.

2021 Newton Napa Valley Unfiltered Chardonnay ($61). Tangy and lively with intense apple fruit and piano-wire acidity but with enough body flesh to keep the wine friendly and not too spare – a wine that might not make it to the table because you’ve sipped the whole bottle with hors d’oeuvres.

2022 Bosio Asti Dolce ($19). A delightful end-of-the-meal sweetie – a soft-and-creamy fruit cocktail with a clean, long finish.

2021 Terrazas de los Andes Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva ($20). Lots of cassis with some greenish varietal notes and lots of dusty tannins – a nice, everyday dinner wine.

2021 Terrazas de los Andes Mendoza Malbec Reserva ($20). Some great jump-out-at-you purple fruits with a lean body, modest tannins and a crisp finish.

2014 Ramón Bilbao Rioja Gran Reserva ($27). A great-example of an old-school, aged-before-release red according to Rioja regs – lean with a little tartness in the cherry flavors, still lots of tannins and great wood influences. If you like aged reds you can afford to buy, go to Rioja.

2020 Papapietro Perry Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($61). Generous cherry and cola Pinot flavors at the front with a lot of crispness in the finish.

2020 Papapietro Perry Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($66). Similar in flavors to the Sonoma Coast with ripe fruit at the beginning, but the finish is more austere.

2019 Newton “The Puzzle” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($210). Very rich is taste and texture with dark berry flavors, a hint of chocolate and some welcoming savory notes – a Cab that takes the middle ground between fruit-forward lush and strip-of-bacon lean.

2018 Newton Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon ($210). Lots of winemakers say structure comes before flavor, and while the dark berry flavors are delicious, the taut linear skeleton carries this delightful wine, and its granularity provides an extra point of interest.

2018 Newton Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($210). A fresh and lean wine with tart blackberry flavors. Of the three Newton Cabs here, this is the one that would profit the most from a few more years of aging, as its blossoming time is still ahead of it.

2018 Newton Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon ($210). My favorite of the three Newton Cabs by a half swallow – at least at the moment – because it’s the most open and friendly although it has the tannins to insure long aging.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

Roger Morris writes about wine, food and travel for The World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, Meininger's Wine Business International, Wine Enthusiast and other publications in the U.S. and Europe.

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