Sloan Estate is located in Rutherford, Napa Valley, and it was founded by Stuart Sloan, a Washington State businessman best known for founding a popular Seattle area chain of supermarkets. Like others who’ve come to Napa Valley in recent years with the aim of making a single, premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Sloan makes only one wine. The first vintage was the 2000, released in 2004. Sloan’s 2002 vintage earned 100 pts from Robert M. Parker Jr., establishing it as one of the newer “cult” Cabs of Napa Valley. Like most of its competitors in the Cult Cab market, the winery is not open to the public and wines are available at release only through a mailing list. The estate’s winemaker is Martha McClellan, who previously was the winemaker for Harlan Estate.
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,