The Reserve Delightful and Strange Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley 2018


This wine has been assembled from great Napa Valley grapes. Which ones? We can’t say; the wine is protected by a strict NDA. The force behind the bottle is Wine Access, a well-established,  reliable online retailer I’ve been dealing with for years. Here’s what Wine Access had to say about this tremendous value: “While its $200, 99pt sources are a secret, Delightful and Strange . . . is one of the most beloved proprietary blends in Wine Access history. . . The 2018 Reserve delivers the dark-fruited elegance, muscled power, and wild complexity of Napa’s finest—for the best price ever on a Delightful and Strange release.

“Robert Emery, the ace [Wine Access] blender behind Delightful and Strange, two years ago, began making the rounds to put the 2018 vintage together. A barrel-tasting high up on Conn Valley Road in St. Helena yielded the midnight-hued Petit Verdot—the source of this wine’s broad-shouldered boldness. Deep-fruited Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc came from two decorated estates in the heart of the Valley. A dollop of Merlot came from a 100-point estate vineyard, and Robert secured a tiny sliver of Malbec from a family at the very pinnacle of Napa winegrowing. 

“It’s an all-star blend that would make any 100-point winemaker jealous. Showing juicy blueberry, pomegranate, and blackberry mingling with freshly tilled earth, mocha, star anise, and five-spice, it’s big, but not heavy. It’s luscious and ripe, yet vibrant and fresh. 

“Because of Robert’s deep relationships throughout the Valley—and the fact that many growers had extra fruit to offer—he was able to put together this stunning proprietary red at an exceptional price. The only catch: The entire production only amounted to eight barrels of wine.” 

Wine Access has already sold out of this wine, but it’s available elsewhere, typically at $18 or so a bottle. Try or just Google 2018 Delightful and Strange $.

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