One of the riper, more hedonistically styled releases, the inky colored 2012 Pentad (67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot and the rest Malbec and Carmenere) has tons of ripe currants, plums, crushed rock and chocolaty aromas and flavors to go with a full-bodied, rich, concentrated feel on the palate. It pushes on the ripeness scale, yet has a great mid-palate and building, high-quality tannin, all suggesting it will have a graceful evolution. Give it a year or three and drink over the following decade. (JD)
Two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon with the balance Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Carménère, this brooding wine brings aromas of moist soil, herb, black tea, eucalyptus, fig and spice. It's full in feel, tart and tightly wound with bright acids and chewy tannins-a wine intended for the long haul. Enjoy after 2020.
Broad and supple, this red is graceful on balance, delivering rich cherry, floral and meaty flavors that come together seamlessly on the generous finish, lingering well. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Carmenère. Drink now through 2022. 310 cases made.
Dark red-ruby. Lovely violet and rose petal lift from the additional of Malbec and Petit Verdot. Juicy, tightly wound red and black fruit flavors show firm-edged acidity and an obvious oakiness (McClellan uses "an Haut-Brion oak blend, 50% new"). Ultimately a very pretty, focused wine with a firm tannic structure to support aging. This is first vintage of Pentad since 2009 of Pentad, as McClellan makes this wine only when multiple Bordeaux varieties excel; the wine is a lot and a barrel selection and goes back into barrels after it has been blended. Similarly, notes McClellan, the Cabernet Reserve is not made in every vintage, "just the powerful ones. But the Pentad is in a different style." The Seven Hills Vineyard, which winemaker Casey McClelland originally helped to plant in 1982 with his father, still provides 70% of the fruit for Seven Hills winery's high-end wines (and 20% overall), with most of the rest coming from top sites in Walla Walla and Red Mountain. Unlike some of his neighbors, McClellan has long focused on Bordeaux varieties and although he made some Syrah through vintage 2009, today that variety is not in his portfolio. According to McClellan, Seven Hills offers outstanding light without excess heat, and its loamy silt soils with basalt far below are deep and well-drained but not fertile are particularly well-suited for Merlot, which has good acid retention. (ST)
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