Red Rock Terrace, on a north-facing slope of 38°, is cooler than Volcanic Hill, and slightly warmer than Gravelly Meadow. It's the most immediately appealing of the three Diamond Creek wines in 2003. If I were to add points for terroir character, this would score even higher, as my notes from the blind tasting indicate a ferrous, iron-oxide edge to the tannin (the aspect of the soil that accounts for its distinctive color). The grip of those tannins creates a dry succulence, balancing wild blueberry fruit with lovely intensity. Powerfully mineral, the finish lasts with a tremendous elegance.
*Two Stars* Classic components of cassis, loamy earth, pencil lead and nicely balanced oak spice come together in the deep aromas and well-extracted flavors of this solidly varietal bottling, and, while fairly tannic and rather gruff on the palate, the wine is always directed by ample fruit. A serious Cabernet that will both demand and reward genuine patience, it is clearly one for long-term keeping, of ten or more years.
Austere, with a reduced earthy aroma, but also a core of black cherry syrup, anise, cassis and earthy mineral flavors that turn dry and tannic on the finish. (JL)
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