The folks at Heitz are very bullish about the quality of the Trailside bottling, and given the quality of the fruit here, I can see why this is the case. But this wine has a bit of work to do carrying one hundred percent new oak, and at this young age it is still rather marked by its oak component on both the nose and (to a lesser degree) the palate. To be fair to this wine, it is three years younger than the ’02 Bella Oaks that was tasted alongside of it, and consequently it has had nowhere near the same amount of time to integrate its wood. In any case, underneath the bit of prominent new wood is a very, very classy wine which offers up scents of red and black cherries, exotic spices, lovely soil tones, smoke, Rutherford Dust and spicy wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and quite sappy at the core, with ripe tannins, impressively integrated wood on the backend (despite its prominence on the nose at this stage in its development) and impressive length and grip on the complex and chewy finish. I would love to see this bottling with half as much new wood, as the underlying raw materials are really impressive, but I have little doubt that it will blossom just fine with several more years bottle age. (Drink between 2016-2040) 92+ points
This fine new release, with some bottle age, shows signs of subtle maturity. Aromas of mocha, cedar, dried currant and spice box follow through to a full body, This is well-built, with fine balance and good length. (JL, Web-2011)
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