The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon bursts from the glass with a rush of black fruit, smoke, licorice, graphite and tar. All the elements flow together gracefully towards the big, fleshy finish. There is plenty of tannin to support the fruit, suggesting the wine will drink well for a number of years. I especially like the way the wine keeps growing in the glass. This is one of the firmer, more vibrant 2009s readers will come across. Simply put, it is fabulous. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029. Larkmead is one of the historic estates in Napa Valley, with a rich lineage that goes back to 1895. The wines I tasted with proprietor Cam Baker and winemaker Andy Smith were all exceptional. Most importantly, though, these are highly individualistic wines loaded with true personality and class. Pricing remains exceedingly fair by Napa Valley standards, considering the quality of what is in the bottle. (AG)
(blended with 12% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Franc): Ruby-red. Blackberry, licorice, minerals and chocolate on the nose, plus a whiff of shoe polish. Dense, spicy and nicely delineated, with excellent intensity to the dark cherry and mineral flavors. Firmly structured Cabernet with granular tannins and a suggestion of medicinal reserve. This will need at least four or five years of bottle aging. (ST)
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