2018 TREFETHEN "Dragon's Tooth" Estate Napa Valley


¥10,560 (incl. tax)

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Inky dark purple - almost black - in color but loaded with fruit and spice, Dragon’s Tooth is an expressive blend of Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. While Malbec dominates wine production in Argentina, it also happens to be of the five approved varieties in Bordeaux. Like many Napa wineries, Trefethen has long added Malbec to their Bordeaux-inspired reds. A few years ago, however, they realized that Malbec has lovely qualities in it’s own right, such as intense aromatics and flavors as well as acidity and texture. The named it “Dragon’s Tooth” because of the obsidian shards, black volcanic glass, that lie scattered like dragons' teeth amongst the rows of Malbec vines. The summer of 2018 was on the cool side; hence, the grapes developed plenty of complex flavors before being harvested in October. In 2018, the blend consists of 49% Malbec, 27% Petit Verdot, and 24% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The winery suggests pairing this wine with earthy and rich dishes such as mushroom pasta. 


Winery Description

A family-owned producer of distinguished estate wines for over 50 years, Trefethen Family Vineyards has always been guided by a unique dedication to sustainable farming, thoughtful winemaking and gracious hospitality. The majority of Trefethen’s nearly 600 acres are found on the Main Ranch Vineyard, located in Oak Knoll – about midway between Yountville and Napa – a cooler district in the southern half of the Napa Valley. The other property is the Hillspring Vineyard, on the low foothills of the mountains just to west of Oak Knoll. Trefethen produces mainly Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Riesling. However, it farms a total of nine grape varieties, the others being Malbec, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Viognier and Pinot Noir. (The other varieties are either used for blending, released in special bottlings or sold to other wineries).  

Eugene Trefethen, an engineering company executive, purchased the historic, but run-down property in 1968 as a post-retirement hobby. When his son, John, suggested replanting the vineyards and founding an estate winery, the idea was considered foolhardy at best. Back then, the Napa Valley was an isolated community with more prune and walnut orchards than vineyards, and only 20 wineries were in existence. But the estate happened to feature a standing winery building from an earlier era, which added credence to the idea that wine would be both history and future. As it turned out, John and his wife, Janet, caught the new Napa winemaking wave, and their energy propelled Trefethen Family Vineyards into becoming one of the top new wineries of the 1970s. Indeed, in 1979 the 1976 Trefethen Chardonnay was declared “The Best Chardonnay in the World” at the Gault Millau Wine Olympics held in Paris.

Since the mid-2000s, the third generation of Trefethens, John and Janet’s children, Hailey and Lorenzo, have taken charge. 50 years has given this family an intimate understanding of their vineyards, from the soils and microclimates of the various blocks to the varietals, the clones and the rootstock. With this knowledge, they can continue to create new blends and reserve wines made from superior blocks of the very best vines and build on a legacy of estate grown wines of remarkable quality and integrity. 

About this Wine

Country USA
Region California
Appellation(s) Napa Valley
Sub-Ava Oak Knoll District
Winery Trefethen
Vintage 2018
Color Red
Varietal(s) 49% Malbec, 27% Petit Verdot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 8.2 x 29.5
Case Size 34.5 x 26.5 x 31.0
Alcohol 14.6%
Product Code TR18DT
UPC 013024930710

Owning & Enjoying

Tasting notes

94 points – James Suckling; 92 points – Antonio Galloni/Vinous; 91 points – James Dunnuck.

The wine opens up with expressive aromas of cherry, blackberry, fig, mocha, and cedar, and then stuns with rich and expressive dark fruit flavors, chewy tannins, and a lush and persistent finish.



The wine spent 18 months in 50% new oak barrels.

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