The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill (an 8-acre, south-facing parcel) comes from white volcanic ash soils called 'tufa.' It is an extraordinarily young, full-bodied Cabernet offering plenty of blackberry, cassis, white chocolate and crushed rock characteristics along with huge tannins. In fact, I thought it was even more backward than the Red Rock Terrace or Gravelly Meadow. Intense and full with fabulous potential, this is another compelling effort from Diamond Creek. Forget it for a decade and drink it over the following 25-30+ years. These three extremely youthful and impressive wines from Diamond Creek Vineyards are all backward and in need of 5-7 years of additional cellaring. By the way, each of these three vineyards has the exact same percentage of grapes (88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot) planted in them, which makes comparing them fascinating. (RP)
Volcanic Hill is a patch of white tuff soil planted to cabernet sauvignon vines Al Brounstein smuggled in from two first growths in Bordeaux back in 1966. Those vines seem to pull a mineral essence from the soil, as this wine is all about the dirt. With a day of air, it smells of freshly turned earth, along with anise, cassis and deeper, plummier flavors. The fragrant nature of the fruit is inseparable from the structure, and even though this may be the most compelling and accessible Volcanic Hill we've tasted on release, that structure is directed toward 20 years of age.
*Cellar Selection* Starts off as a closed, tight wine, aromatically speaking, and needs plenty of decanting to breathe, but once it starts to open, there’s an eruption of the most refined cassis and cedar aromas. In the mouth, this is an immense Cabernet, profoundly deep in blackberry, roasted coffee and dark chocolate flavors. It is also enormously tannic, and is effectively locked down. Nowhere near ready, although decanting will help it ...
*Two Stars* If slightly chocolaty and a touch riper in overall character than either of its two siblings, this big, mouthfilling working still has more than enough fruit going for it, and its slightly stark tannins are countered by an unmistakable sense of incipient suppleness. Like its mates, it is not one for near-term drinking, and there is no question that its insistent themes of concentrated currants will carry it through to a tasty maturity after its youthful toughness has been tamed by seven or eight years of time in the cellar.
Ruby-red. Cool aromas of cassis, dark chocolate and mocha. Juicy, brisk and quite penetrating but distinctly suppler and sweeter than the Red Rock Terrace, with rich, layered flavors of cassis and blackberry. Finishes firmly tannic and long. This wine has much more breadth to buffer its tannins.
Plenty of intensity, but not extrovert: liquorice and menthol alongside the fruit. Well crafted, still very youthful, smooth and pure and silky – super-smooth tannins. (RH)
Plenty of intensity, but not extrovert: liquorice and menthol alongside the fruit. Well crafted, still very youthful, smooth and pure and silky -- super-smooth tannins. 17/20 points.
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