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2014 Camino Cabernet Sauvignon Montecillo Vineyard Moon Mountain Sonoma Valley
Richly aromatic, this “old vines” Cab offers textbook Moon Mountain concentration tempered by the soft-edge that is a hallmark of the 2014 vintage. The nose fans-out blackberry, Cassis, blueberry, black cherry, violet, rose, laurel, date pastry, graphite and black tea aromas in elegant focus. On the palate, bright flavors of blackberry, black cherry and Cassis make a strong statement, although dark sweet-savory counterpoints of licorice root, tobacco, graphite, foresty-spice and charcoal seem almost as rich. The finish lingers and sweet-natured juiciness does much to smother the tannins and bring immediate pleasure, yet this wine is likely to repay another three years of cellaring. 110 cases produced.
2014 Grimm’s Bluff Cabernet Sauvignon “Cliff Hanger” Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
This “Reserve” bottling is grander and more age-worthy than the winery’s Estate version, and its aromas are a gush of Italian Maraschino cherry, black and red currant, blackberry, bouillon, toast, baking spices and dark tobacco. It is dramatically rich yet pinpoint-balanced on the palate: at once gorgeously fruity and piquantly bright, with plenty of weight and impressive grip. The flavors are a lingering, tongue-coating melange of Italian Maraschino cherry, Amarena cherry, black currant, blueberry cobbler, pomegranate syrup, cherry pit, licorice root and humidor-spice. Gorgeous now, it will certainly improve for at least three years, although winemaker Paul Lato’s wines often surprise with their longevity. Blended with 3% Petit Verdot, 406 cases made. Debut release!
2013 Hertelendy Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
This is a concentrated yet very stylish Cabernet with forthcoming aromas of red and black currant, Creme de Cassis, black cherry, vanilla, date sugar, licorice root and humidor-spice. Things are juicy-ripe and racy on the palate, where flavors of Umeboshi plum, rose and candied violet chime-in to accent the wine’s richer core of dark cherry and currant. The finish is silky, lingering and gently piquant, which keeps the opulence food-worthy. The lingering memory is of bright cherry-currant-plum fruit counter-pointed by sweet-savory notes of licorice, tobacco, vanilla and a hint of bitter chocolate. Delicious now, it should improve for several more years. 533 cases produced. Debut release!
2012 Oakville Cross Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa Valley
Clearly the finest Oakville Cross Cabernet ever produced, this beauty well-represents its great vintage. The nose is deep and focused, with scents of red cherry, black raspberry, red and black currant, violet, cedar, black tea, vanilla, tobacco and dried herbs all clearly delineated. It is fruit forward yet shows fine underlying grip on the palate, where zesty cherry-currant-berry fruit is matched by rich vanilla, cedar, tobacco, baking-spice and dried herb notes. The finish is long and of chiseled balance, as tannic grip and zest keep things racy. Expect three years or more of improvement. 350 cases produced.
2013 Perliss Cabernet Sauvignon “The Raven” Calistoga Napa Valley
This immediately impressive Cab is darkly ripe, concentrated and focused, and if clearly youthful it is truly satisfying already. The nose is a juicy mix of black raspberry, olallieberry, mulberry, blueberry, black cherry and black fig fruit tied to sweet-savory notes of Victorian toffee, baking-spice and espresso beans. It is luxuriously rich on the palate, where the tannins are blanketed by a wave of black raspberry, mulberry, black fig, date sugar, coffee toffee, humidor-spice, licorice root, clove, coffee bean, and dark chocolate. Lingering and delicious now, it will grow ever more expressive over the next five years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 400 cases produced.
2012 Trivium Cabernet Sauvignon “Les Ivrettes” St Helena Napa Valley
2012 is clearly a great vintage for the famous Lewelling vineyard as this beauty demonstrates. The nose is a a graceful marriage of sweet red cherry, sour red cherry, red currant, toasted cedar, sweet tobacco, laurel, clove and Kalamata olive scents. The wine is polished and elegant on the palate, where the fruits shifts into a slightly darker profile, with black raspberry, black cherry and Cassis at center stage and vanilla, dried herb and other savory notes in the wings. The finish is fruit-centric and lingering, with tannins in the background. Delicious now, it will be more so in another four years or so. 740 6-packs produced, from the Lewelling Vineyard.
2012 Alta Cabernet Sauvignon “Oso Malo” Atlas Peak Napa Valley
From start to finish this is Atlas Peak Cabernet. The nose is tightly-focused: with black currant, blackberry, mulberry, dark cherry, plum, violet, peppercorn, anise, tobacco, graphite and balsamic spice notes all clearly delineated. Crushed rock minerality and polished tannins make the mouth-feel firm and racy, yet the aromatic promise is fully fulfilled and the flavors are further enhanced by suggestions of cola, root beer bark, licorice root, clove, Victorian toffee and black fig. The finish is long and satisfying, although the wine’s full expression is four years away. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 300 cases made..
2014 Bench Vineyards “Circa ‘64” Proprietary Red Wine Stags Leap District Napa Valley
Creamy-rich and surprisingly soft-edged the nose of this brilliant Bordeaux-esque blend is a seductive mix of dark cherry, black cherry, black currant, blueberry, dark rose, bitter chocolate, date molasses, vanilla, coffee toffee, humidor-spice and bouillon scents. The wine’s underlying tannic structure is revealed on the palate, where the fruit-dense and tongue-coating texture morphs into a leaner, tighter mouth-feel. The finish is long and already food-friendly. The lingering memory is of gradually expansive flavors that include blueberry, dark cherry, black and red currant, purple plum, toasted cedar, date molasses, baking spices, sandalwood, licorice root, espresso beans, toffee and milk chocolate. Expect five years of steady improvement, but don’t fear to try it now. A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petite Verdot and 25% Malbec, 250 cases made. Debut release.
2013 En Garde Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain Napa Valley
Intriguingly complex and surprisingly forthcoming for its appellation, this is a slightly exotic, if already fulfilling Cab. The nose weaves scents of black currant, blackberry, blueberry, violet, graphite, dry brush, dark chocolate, leather, licorice root, cedar and cola into a forthcoming and harmonious tapestry. Things are lean yet impressively rich on the palate, where there is enough fruit to suppress the tannin-mineral underpinnings that are so much a part of the Diamond Mountain personality. The finish is a deep and lingering melange of mixed dark berries, black fig, dried dark cherry, cola, bitter chocolate, dried red rose, licorice root, humidor-spice, cedar, leather, clove and graphite. If likely five years from its full maturity, it is a fine dinner wine already. 200 cases produced, entirely from the Sori Brico Vineyard.
2012 Palazzo Cabernet Franc Napa Valley
Wonderfully expressive and of great elegance, the nose of this Bordeaux-esque beauty is a layered perfume of sweet red and black cherry, black raspberry, red currant, red plum, violet, cedar, baking-spice, toffee, vanilla pipe tobacco and star anise scents. These elements are just as well expressed on the palate, where the flavors seem to glide on a rich textural wave that is both classy and richly satisfying. If the finish is youthfully tightened by tannin and hints of peppery spice, the wine will still serve beautifully right now with richly sauced filet mignon. It should be even more lovely if given a few years of cellar time. 100% Cabernet Franc, 400 cases made.
2013 Petree Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Deep, rich and sweet-natured, this Rutherford-esque Cab has fruit-centered aromas of black currant, blackberry, black cherry and violet which rise above savory notes of licorice, clove, camphor, humidor spice and vanilla: the whole braced by a streak of firming minerality. Fruit is the central theme on the palate as well, where an otherwise creamy mouth-feel is tightened a bit by tannic grip and graphite undercurrents. The finish is long, supple and well-balanced between fruity and savory flavors and a note of black fig adds richness while a hint of cranberry-orange relish brings zest at the end. Pleasurable now, it should seem truly luxurious if given a few more years in the cellar. Blended with 7% Petite Verdot & 5% Cabernet Franc, 329 cases produced.
2012 Steven Kent “Lineage” Proprietary Red Wine Livermore Valley
Lineage is the signature bottling of Livermore’s finest winery and in such a great vintage it delivers near perfection. The nose poises a veneer of sweet tobacco, spice cake, Victorian toffee, cedar and graphite above a deeply concentrated core of red currant jam, dried red cherry, red plum, blueberry and violet. All that luxury fans-out on the palate with tongue-coating creaminess which is kept food-worthy by zesty, persistent fruit. The finish is focused, supple and classically elegant, and it rolls-out as a cascade of cherry, currant, plum, blueberry, pomegranate syrup, violet, fig, star anise, baking-spice, cedar, tobacco, vanilla and toffee. Beautiful now, it is five years from its full glory. A blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot & 4% Petite Verdot. 300 cases produced.
2012 Anthem Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” Mount Veeder Napa Valley
Darkly earthy and deeply fruity, the nose of this classic Mt Veeder bottling is immediately impressive, as aromas of black cherry, black plum, black currant, black fig, date molasses, humidor-spice, licorice root and graphite fan-out in a juicy-rich display. It is every bit as deep and juicy on the palate, where focused fruit and loads of savory spice find an opulent harmony which the wines firming tannic structure cannot truly blunt. The finish is gutsy and super-long, layering black fig, date molasses, licorice root and graphite flavors over a richer, more tightly-wound core of black cherry and pomegranate syrup. It will likely be an absolute knockout within five years, yet may continue to grow in depth and appeal for years after that. Blended with 13% Cabernet Franc, 550 cases produced.
2013 Argot Cabernet Sauvignon “Borrowed Jewels” Sugarloaf Vineyard Napa Valley
If juicy ripe, this is also a richly savory Cabernet. The nose marries juicy-syrupy notes of black cherry, blackberry and Cassis with a complex sweet-savory melange that includes scents of licorice, dates, cedar, Kalamata olive and leather. The wine proves as rich and textured in the mouth as the aromas suggest, and it layers zesty, palate-coating flavors of black cherry, pomegranate syrup and Cassis above darkly savory underpinnings. The finish is lingering, richly oaky and tannic beneath all the the fruit, with attractive notes of mulling spices, licorice root and mocha coming in at the end. Years of steady growth lie ahead for this beefy bottling. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 150 cases made.
2013 La Voix Cabernet Sauvignon “Ecstacy of Gold” Santa Barbara County
This is a beautifully polished and supple Cabernet with lots of character. The aromas are an elegant mix of black currant, dark cherry, blueberry, Cassis, mulberry, red rose, vanilla, anise, graphite and sweet tobacco. In the mouth it is zesty and bright, yet palate-coating, with creamy notes of vanilla, cedar, chestnut, baking spices, cola and licorice root rolling-out in support of black currant, dark cherry, and blueberry-centered fruit. It possesses the underlying tannins to imply that several years of improvement lie ahead, yet its polished, forthcoming character suggests that current drinking would not be a sin. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with Merlot & Malbec. 182 6-packs produced.
2012 Paratus Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Mount Veeder Napa Valley
Classically Mt. Veeder, this Cab is darkly rich and powerful, with the textbook mix of citric-edged fruit and exotic savory spice. The nose offers chiseled scents of pomegranate syrup, raspberry candy, black, dark and sour cherry, violet, toasted cedar, briar, peppercorn, coriander seed, vanilla and baking-spices. Things are deeply concentrated if tightly wound and packed with firming tannin on the palate, yet airing brings forth all the hoped-for flavors, and the wine finishes with an energetic blast of pomegranate, sour cherry, red cherry, red currant, star anise and sweet-savory spice. It is likely to improve for a decade and be great for years after. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 500 cases produced.
2012 Piña Cabernet Sauvignon Wolff Vineyard Yountville Napa Valley
Sweetly-rich, this Cabernets offers distinctive, focused aromas of dark cherry, dark plum, black fig, date sugar, coffee toffee and star anise over hints of dried herbs and Oriental spices. Things prove as rich and gutsy as expected on the palate, where concentration and tannic grip make the texture firm and the wine's cellar-worthiness obvious. The flavors center on darkly ripe black currant, blackberry, black cherry and plum fruit in harmony with licorice root, black tea, baking-spice notes and tobacco. The finish is very long and an appealing cardamom element comes in at the end. Expect five years of steady improvement at minimum. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 592 cases made.
2013 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon “George III” Beckstoffer Vineyard Rutherford Napa Valley
This is a spectacular showcasing of this justifiably famous vineyard, and the wines gorgeous perfume of black cherry, red currant, red cherry, blackberry, violet, blueberry, red plum, five-spice, spice cake, coffee toffee and peppercorn is classically Rutherford. It is gushingly fruity on the palate where cherry-berry-violet fruit, sandalwood and star anise surge to the forefront. The finish is perfectly dinner-balanced and ultra-long, while the substantial tannins are well submerged. Certainly five-plus years from its full expression, it is altogether captivating right now. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 350 cases produced.
2013 Gamling & McDuck Cabernet Franc Pickberry Vineyard Sonoma Mountain
This knockout Franc is altogether distinctive and already a joy to drink. A cornucopia of black raspberry, dried red currant, red & black cherry, rhubarb, red rose, sassafras, balsamic spice and dark savory scents fans-out as the wine airs. Things are at once gutsy and racy on the palate, where a sleek mouth-feel belies the wine’s otherwise notable tannins, and the rush of complex, lingering fruit proves as focused as it is bright. The finish elegantly harmonizes the focused fruit-centered elements offered in the nose with savory counterpoints of cedar, tobacco, baking spices, vanilla, mace, root beer and black tea. Pair it now with a fatty roast, or watch it evolve over the next five years. 242 cases produced.
2012 Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Spring Mountain Napa Valley
This gutsy jewel displays the structure expected from a great mountain vineyard in a great vintage. The nose is deep, focused and powerful, with black cherry, black raspberry, currant, black fig, violet, red rose, black tea and licorice root all standing out. It is as bold as expected on the palate, where the flavors are super-long and the texture almost chewy. The flavors include notes of briar, tobacco, leather, baking spices, cola, vanilla, black tea, cedar and foresty-minerally elements, which form a rich contrast to the wine’s grand core of black cherry fruit. Expect ten years of improvement and a long life. 700 cases produced.
2012 Lampyridae Cabernet Sauvignon Communication Block Mount Veeder Napa Valley
2012 is likely Mt. Veeder’s greatest vintage since 1970 and here is one of it’s bright stars. The nose is a deeply rich, super-exotic perfume of pink peppercorn, violet, sour cherry, red plum syrup, raspberry coulis, vanilla cream sickle and baking-spice scents. Things are just as distinctive on the palate, where the texture is rich and juicy and the brooding flavors concentrated and lingering. The finish is packed with sour cherry, pomegranate syrup, plum jam, violet, peppercorn, dried herb, tobacco, star anise and mountain briar flavors. The tannins are smothered in fruit, so the wine is terrifically satisfying already. It is yet several years from it’s full expression and should prove long-lived. 71 cases made.
2011 Malk Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District Napa Valley
Deep and already seductive, the aromas of this classically elegant Stags Leap Cab are a delightful perfume of sweet red cherry, red currant, black currant, violet, camphor blossom, milk chocolate, humidor-spice, cedar and vanilla scents. In the mouth, it is notable for its sleek texture and polished tannins, but even more so for the rush of lovely, lingering fruit that comes with it. Those flavors, a medley of currant, cherry, violet, mocha, cedar, vanilla and sweet tobacco are focused and charming to the very end, so although the wine is destined for further improvement it is already hard to resist. 238 cases produced.
2012 Rocca Cabernet Sauvignon “Tesorina” Napa Valley
One of the truly sensational 2012s, this beauty is already irresistible. The nose creates a captivating perfume by layering gushing black currant, blackberry and black cherry fruit upon savory scents of dried laurel and sage, black tea, toasted oak, star anise and peppery roasted meat. Deep, focused fruit and vibrant zest are hallmarks on the palate as well, so the wine’s tongue-drenching richness stays dinner-friendly. The finish is ultra-complex and super-long, and an ending blast of tobacco, licorice root, dried herbs and dark foresty spice cannot challenge the supremacy of the energetic black cherry, blackberry and black currant fruit. Near-perfect now, it is certain to improve for five years at least, if one can refrain from gulping it immediately. 106 cases made.
2012 Watermark Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Napa Valley
This is a deep and brooding mountain Cab with intensity, class and a big future. The nose marries scents of black cherry, pomegranate syrup, black currant, Creme de Cassis, Licorice root, baking-spice and sweet tobacco. It is huge in body and packed with fruit and tannin on the palate and through a notably long and notably youthful finish. That fruit centers on tightly-coiled, juicy black cherry and pomegranate fruit, with undercurrents of grilled black figs, briar, tobacco, dried herbs and foresty spice. It well deserves the five to ten years of age it needs in order to fully express itself. 335 cases produced.
2012 Aperture Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
Big in scale, but youthfully fresh, the nose of this concentrated Cabernet layers vivid red cherry, red currant, raspberry, red boysenberry, violet, sandalwood, star anise, cedar and tobacco scents into a focused package. On the palate, there is ample fruit and a fair dose of tannic grip in contrast, and rich body. The finish is long, if a trace youthfully firm, and in the finish rose petal and red vines notes come in to accent the wines rich core of sweet red fruits. Delicious already, it will improve for several more years. Blended with 10% Malbec. 275 cases produced.
2011 Arns Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Napa Valley
Wonderfully elegant and focused, the nose of this Cabernet melds black currant, dark cherry, berry compote, baking spice, star anise, cedar, laurel, caramel and humidor-spice into a classy and fruit-dominated melange. On the palate, deep licorice root, star anise and baking-spice notes make a near-perfect foundation for the red currant, cherry, blueberry and blackberry fruits that are the core of the wine. The finish is a feminine, lingering, already delicious representation of what Cabernet is all about and everything here should get even better over the next three years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, all from old vines. 100 cases produced.
2009 Kathryn Kennedy Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Santa Cruz Mountains
Super deep, concentrated and identifiably Santa Cruz Mountain in character, the nose of this perfectly-evolved Cabernet rolls-out as a wave of purple plum, black currant, black raspberry, dried black currant, expresso bean, black tea leaf, cedar, licorice root, bourbon-caramel, cola and dark earth scents. It is boldly flavorful and luxuriously rich on the palate, where everything promised in the nose unfolds in a creamy rush of flavor. The finish is plush and lingering and the remaining tannins and dark mountain minerality bring all the opulence into a fine dinner-friendly whole. 600 cases produced.
2013 Odette Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Stags Leap District
Clearly grand-scale, if clearly youthful, the nose of this near-dramatic Cabernet stamps Italian Maraschino cherry and red plum scents upon others of sweet tobacco, baking-spice and milk chocolate. Power and richness are fully evident on the palate, where flavors of black cherry, red plum, red current, black current, dark rose, cola, humidor-spice, bitter chocolate, graphite and dark earthy spice fan-out with gripping tannins in support. The finish is mouth-coating rich and its push of flavor always manages to dominate the wines rougher edges. Expect five to eight years of improvement, but don’t be afraid to try a bottle now, for it will be rewarding. 3500 cases produced. produced.
2007 Parador Cabernet Sauvignon Hossfield Vineyard Napa Valley
Beautifully evolved and perfectly dinner-worthy, this is a truly delicious Cabernet. The aromas layer Bordeaux-esque scents of cedar, old leather, vanilla, sweet tobacco and spice-cake over textbook “Hossfield notes” of black currant, black raspberry, dried black cherry, black fig, black tea, licorice root and peppercorn. All of these notes find harmony on the palate, where the depth is richly satisfying and the impression is of perfect ripeness. The finish is lingering and creamy, with enough remaining tannic grip to make food matching easy and to suggest many good years of positive evolution. 225 cases produced.
2012 Viluko Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County
If initially reserved, the aromas of this very impressive debut fan-out with airing as a focused array of red currant, red plum, red cherry, cinnamon “red hots”, black raspberry, vanilla and toast, over rich undercurrents of baking spices and dark tobacco. That fruity-savory mix is firmed a bit by tannin, so the mid-palate feel is tighter and less expressive than the nose. The finish is very long though and as it airs it reveals an interesting chalky undercurrent to counterpoint beautifully rendered flavors of black raspberry, red currant, red cherry, dark tobacco and sweet baking spices. 880 cases made, from a vineyard located in the newly established Fountaingrove District appellation. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.