Mixed Case lot - please see individual item description
This lot contains the following items:
2009 Diamond Creek "Gravelly Meadow" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2009 Diamond Creek "Red Rock Terrace" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2009 Diamond Creek "Volcanic Hill" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2009 Heitz Cellar "Martha's Vineyard" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2009 Ramey "Pedregal" Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2009 ZD Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Ramey "Annum" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Ramey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Diamond Creek "Volcanic Hill" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Diamond Creek "Gravelly Meadow" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2010 Diamond Creek "Red Rock Terrace" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Diamond Creek "Gravelly Meadow" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Diamond Creek "Volcanic Hill" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2011 Ramey "Annum" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Ramey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Diamond Creek "Gravelly Meadow" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Diamond Creek "Red Rock Terrace" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2012 Diamond Creek "Volcanic Hill" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
2013 ZD Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (qty: 1)
Yet another very solid effort from Diamond Creek and one that shows the same bias to structure and firm tannins as shown by its mates, this year's Gravelly Meadow bottling is a sinewy, yet well-fruited young Cabernet that has a long way to go. It tends to a bit of back-palate dryness, and its finishing fruit ever so slightly loses its grasp, but seven to ten years of patience should set everything right.
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow sparkles on the palate with layers of dark red fruit, mocha, sweet herbs, crushed flowers and spices. Once again the Gravelly Meadow is surprisingly accessible for a young Diamond Creek wine. There is plenty of underlying tannin, however, and my impression is that this is a rare 2009 that hasn’t yet begun to close down in bottle. Hints of raspberry jam, cinnamon and cloves add to an impression of softness and sensuality that is unusual for a young Diamond Creek Cabernet. Anticipated maturity: 2024-2049.
*Cellar Selection* Rich and powerful, with a molten intensity, this has loads of blackberry and cherry jam flavors, yet it has a minerally earthiness that grounds it and makes it endlessly complex. With its tannic profile and sweet oak jacket, this defines Napa Valley Cabernet—particularly from the mountains. If you can keep your hands off it, this will develop over the next 10–20 years.
Pleasantly earthy, with a complex, fresh loaminess underlying the dried currant and herb notes, gaining a cedary edge. The finish is tightly focused, showing touches of black olive and cigar box. Excellent length. Best from 2014 through 2030.
*Two stars* Diamond Creek's offerings are generally among the more sturdy and structured Cabernets of the vintage, yet as this well-crafted effort so capably shows, structure in no way contradicts polish. A lean and yet fairly muscular bottling with a tightly wound core of essential blackcurrant fruit framed deftly with oak, the wine hints at elements of dark soils and briar and is underpinned by plenty of fine tannins. It wants to be cellared for no fewer than a half-dozen years and will not show its best until a decade has passed.
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace boasts serious depth and power, but it appears to be holding all of the elements very much in reserve. Hints of camphor, tar, menthol, wild flowers and dark fruit open up gradually over time. Constantly changing in the glass, the 2009 is endowed with superb energy and tension. It is also incredibly inward and in need of considerable cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2024-2049. (95+)
The ripest of Diamond Creek’s new ’09 Cabernets, Red Rock shows a sun-blasted quality of red currants, blueberry and cassis. Heady and exotic, this is rich in tannins and noble in acidity. While it’s a joy to drink now and over the next eight years, its extreme ripeness may limit its longterm ageability.
Notably earthy and gravelly, with a trim band of dark berry and graphite. Tight and focused, this bottling needs cellaring and aeration. Drink now through 2024. (Web-2012)
Far and away the toughest of the new Diamond Creek lot, this year's Volcanic Hill bottling is a deep and sinewy young wine with lots of mass and impressively extracted fruit. It is also gruff and astringent, yet its insistent impressions of cassis and black cherries power their ways past its very ample young tannins and linger on and on at the finish. It will not even begin to approach drinkability for another eight to ten years, and it is certain to live for a very long time.
The most powerful and imposing of the 2009s, Diamond Creek's 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill wraps around the palate with blackberries, black currants, tobacco, incense, licorice and smoke. Layers of blue and black fruit, tar and grilled herbs flow through to the huge, full-bodied finish. The Volcanic Hill is the most powerful and tannic of the 2009s, not to mention a clear stand out. The 2009 is loaded with energy and tension, all of which will require many years to fully resolve. Readers will need to be exceptionally patient. Anticipated maturity: 2029-2049.
Phil Steinschriber, who farms the vines and makes the wines at Diamond Creek, believes this eight-acre block on gray, volcanic ash produces his most long-lived cabernet. On release, I often prefer the freshness of north-facing Red Rock Terrace to the warmer intensity provided by this south-facing hillside. In 2009, it’s spicy and warm, a plump cabernet in the dark spectrum of black currants and tar. Tangy and edging toward the super-ripe, this is a modern take on the vineyard, carrying a clear statement of its terroir that should develop with bottle age.
This shows the Diamond Creek signature of dryness, mountain tannins and voluptuously ripe, concentrated fruit. It’s dense in blackberry jam and cassis flavors, with firm minerality and a lush toast note from the oak. Near perfection in all of its parts, it possesses those hard-to-define qualities of balance and elegance. Wonderful as it is now, the tannins suggest aging it for many years. *Cellar Selection*
Very dense and backward, yet promising for its tight dried currant, herb, sage and cedar notes. An appealing earthiness gives the flavors a firm foundation. Needs time. Best from 2015 through 2030.
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard is a relatively immediate Marthas, with a real feeling of mid-palate density and weight that is almost out of character for this estate. Sweet, silky tannins give the 2009 much of its succulence. Scents of mint, pine and eucalyptus wrap around the juicy, inviting finish. (AG)
Shows notable herb, mint and bay leaf overtones, with a tight, dense core of dried currant and berry that is slow to open. This is very shut down for now, and should age for a long time. The flavors build on the finish. Drink now through 2027. (JL)
From a site in Oakville, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Vineyard is another huge, intense wine that also possesses wonderful nuance and delineation, a rare attribute for such a big Cabernet. Espresso, mocha, black cherries, grilled herbs and sweet spices lead to a huge core of blue/black fruit in this brooding, full-bodied wine. There is a lot to like in the 2009 Pedregal, but I can’t imagine the wine being fully expressive until at least age ten. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2039. ...In my mind, Ramey is one of the top wineries in the United States. Readers who aren’t familiar with these wines owe it to themselves to check them out. (AG)
Bright purple. Pungent, ripe aromas of cassis, mocha, pipe tobacco and licorice pastille. Large-scaled, sappy and surprisingly elegant, with bright acidity giving lift and clarity to the velvety flavors of dark berry preserves, plum and cocoa. Sweet, penetrating and alluringly floral on the ripe, gently tannic, extremely long finish. (ST)
Rich and gutsy, but also refined and stylish, with an initial push of rocky and roasted herb-laced currant and dried berry flavors, maintaining its dry savory character on the finish. Best from 2014 through 2028. (JL)
(*One Star) Lightly loamy and graced with a minerally note in its fairly direct ripe-currant and oak aromas, ZD's latest is a comparatively trim wine that keeps ripeness in check and its sights set on slightly restrained fruit. It is firm and modestly tannic, and it is not ready for drinking, but neither is it a wine needing lengthy cellaring. Set it aside for four of five years.
Tastes immature now, with flashy, sweet blackberry, cherry and raspberry jam fruit flavors, and a rich coating of smoky oak. The tannins are complex and impressive. Not showing well now because it's so direct, but it's possible that six years in the cellar will begin to bring about secondary bottle character.
Picking a favorite from the Ramey Cabernet bunch is as usual no easy task and the choice is one that will be ultimately based on whether precision or an extra bit of depth is preferred. This one succeeds on the strength of its wonderfully incisive varietal fruit and its slightly more mannerly stance. It is structured and solid without being brawny, and it show lots of complexity now with more to come once it has aged. It would seem a shame if its cork were to be pulled before and fewer than six to eight years have passed.
The spectacular 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Annum (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) is a multi-appellation blend revealing classic Cabernet Sauvignon notes of forest floor, unsmoked cigar tobacco, creme de cassis and vanillin, a dense, full-bodied mouthfeel and a long, heady finish. Consume it over the next 15-20 years. (RP)
Inky ruby. Lively dark berry and cherry scents are complemented by licorice, fruitcake and vanilla, with a spicy nuance adding lift. Sweet, palate-coating blueberry and cherry liqueur flavors become more energetic with air and pick up a sexy floral nuance. Distinctly powerful yet lithe, with zesty spice and mineral notes adding bite to the long, subtly tannic finish. (ST)
Bordeaux-like and austere, presenting a mix of cedary oak and tobacco leaf. Firm, rich and full-bodied, this is slow to unravel, with a cling of oak, ending with drying tannins. Best from 2014 through 2024. 215 cases made. (Web Only—2013)
The least aspirational of the winery's several Cabernets but still a wine of some ambition, Ramey's basic Napa Valley bottling is nicely focused, solidly fruited and far more than a simple sibling to its pricier partners. It seasons its full measure of ripe currants with a bit of root-beer-like sweetness and cocoa, and its supple beginnings give way to firmness as rigid tannins arrive. It proves a bit frontal just yet and is ultimately not quite as accessible as it first seems, and, while those who are not deterred by its young Cabernet "grip" might enjoy it with a rare steak soon, we plan on wait for three or four years.
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) is more rustic with more biting tannins. Nevertheless, it is an excellent Cabernet displaying good depth and richness. It will benefit from another year or so of bottle age, and should drink well for 10-15 years. (RP)
Opaque ruby. Intense cherry, blackcurrant and vanilla aromas are complemented by licorice, pipe tobacco and woodsmoke. Plush, velvety black and blue fruit flavors pick up mocha and peppery spice nuances with air. The vanilla quality repeats on the persistent finish, which is firmed by dusty, building tannins. Shows its structure with air but doesn't come off as hard or edgy. (ST)
Ramey's 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is a very serious wine. Raspberry jam, wild flowers, spices and new leather meld together in a rich, explosive Cabernet Sauvignon loaded with fruit, depth and pure intensity. A big, full-bodied voluptuous wine, the 2010 is one of the better values in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. There is plenty of personality and character here. (AG)
As usual, the triple play from Diamond Creek is both more alike and not than it is relative to most of their peers, and thus, our favorite may or may not be yours. In our tastings, by way of explanation, both this wine and the Gravelly Meadow stood neck and neck in the race for "favorite", and while we may have marginally preferred the deep, ripe, sinewy nature of the Volcanic Hill, it was not that we did not like the others. Here one gets a nose that bursts from the glass with curranty, briary, concentrated aromas that drift a tad into the roti character that can come with hillside grapes. Tannin is plentiful, and hints of cola and graphite add their complexing notes, and, all in all, this is a wine that is likely to age well for a half decade and more for starters.
Wonderfully complex aromas of minerals, berries and stones. Black olives. Full body with seamless tannins and length. It goes on for minutes. Like a refined vintage of La Mission Haut-Brion. Needs four or five years to come together. Try in 2019.
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill comes from 8 acres planted in the white tufa/volcanic soils that make a sharp contrast with the red, iron-rich soils of Red Rock Terrace and the gravel-filled soils of Gravelly Meadow. This cuvee tends to be the most explosive and richest of the Diamond Creek Cabs. The deep ruby/purple-tinged 2010 Volcanic Hill is more restrained and reserved on the nose. That restraint is unleashed in the mouth as this is the richest, fullest-bodied and most concentrated of this trio. Lots of blackberry, cassis, smoke and meaty barbecue notes can be found in this titan of a Cabernet Sauvignon. The finish is very long. Forget this 2010 for 8-10 years and drink it over the following 30+. (RP) 96+
While most wines in this tasting are gorgeous, but young, Diamond Creek's 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill comes across as raw and not yet fully formed. There is impressive power and structure in the glass, even if the elements haven't fully come together yet. Some bottles show a slight trace of brett that I do not find overpowering or distracting, but it is there. (AG)
A south-facing hillside of white volcanic ash, this is Diamond Creek’s warmest vineyard and the most hyper-fruity of its wines in 2010. The ripeness is almost electric blue, perfumed with black currant flavor straight through the wine. Underneath, there’s an umami earthiness, like cool, mushroomy earth to refresh it. A powerful cabernet, marbled in its richness, needing years of bottle age to develop.
So delicious now, you can drink it, but the hard tannins strongly suggest aging this beauty. Beyond the astringency are complex flavors of blackberries and olives, with sweet toasty oak playing a starring role. Harder to describe is the overall balance, so rich and sweet, yet dry and elusive. Give it until 2020 to begin to come around. *Cellar Selection*
Always a favorite in these quarters over the years, the Gravelly Meadow bottling has more of tailored quality than does the Volcanic Hill, and here, in this vintage makes a lighter, less dramatic statement that will be the darling of those who like a more classic approach. To be sure, there is plenty of cassis and black cherry precision to the aromas, and the supple beginnings on the palate are somewhat more finesseful while still carrying the expected tannins for age. Latter palate acidity also tightens things up a touch and adds to the notion that cellartime is needed.
Subtle, thoughtful aromas of blueberries, mint and black licorice. Full body with very fine, polished tannins and a fresh finish. Wonderful length to this. Try in 2017.
The dense purple-colored 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow offers stony notes intermixed with cassis and gravel along with a striking minerality, rich, deep cassis fruit, well-concealed and integrated new oak, and a long, structured finish. These cuvees are generally meant for considerable cellaring, and this wine needs to be forgotten for 5-6 years and drunk over the following 20-25 years. (RP) 92+
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow is just starting to open up. Sweet black cherry, smoke, licorice, incense, spices and orange peel are all laced together in an attractive, mid-weight wine built on layers of sweet perfumed fruit. Hints of rose petal and mint develop in the glass, adding an attractive upper register to the expressive red-toned, brambly fruit. Quite surprisingly, the 2010 is already enjoyable today, but it should drink well for another 15+ years, if not considerably longer. The Gravelly Meadow is the most approachable of Diamond Creek's 2010s. (AG)
One of the most riveting vintages of Gravelly Meadow we’ve tasted on release, this grows on an ancient alluvial wash of river stones where the vines date to 1968 and consistently produce the lowest crop of Diamond Creek’s three main vineyards. In 2010, the yield on this vineyard was down more than 25 percent, due to culling fruit after the west-facing bunches were burned in the heat wave. Phil Steinschriber delayed harvest until October 22nd, when the threat of rain forced his hand. In the end, Gravelly Meadow produced his most aromatically beautiful wine. It smells like the manzanita groves on the hillside above Gravelly Meadow; that, plus racy red and black fruit, lean forest-berry flavors that layer with a cool soil character in the tannins as the scent draws you in to the taste. What’s equally beautiful is the texture, capturing the concentrated flavors and presenting them with silken grace. Under all that supple, lean muscle, the wine has a strong spine, structured to go the distance in the cellar.
The winery has hardly changed its winemaking formula over the decades. Gravelly Meadow remains toughly closed, dry and tannic in youth, despite its core of blackberry and cherry fruit. While the wine is flamboyantly forward by Diamond Creek standards, it would be a crime to drink it before 2020. It’s so balanced and complex, it will easily age until then, and probably far longer. *Cellar Selection*
Sleek and perfumed, aromatic and graceful, this is relatively supple and polished, with a mix of loamy earth, juicy berry, mint and underbrush flavors. Should reward cellaring. Best from 2016 through 2030. (JL)
Aromas of blueberries and minerals follow through to a full body with firm tannins and a juicy finish. Hints of iron and clay. A balanced, reserved red. Shows the tradition and class of the vineyard. Better in 2015.
The Red Rock Terrace Vineyard consists of seven acres of iron-rich, red soils. The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace reveals intense, ripe, impressive creme de cassis and boysenberry fruit notes. Fuller-bodied, richer and more muscular than the Gravelly Meadow, it is stunningly powerful and pure with multiple layers, abundant tannin and structure, and extravagant amounts of fruit and glycerin. Still an infant, this beauty requires 7-10 years of cellaring and should keep for three decades. (RP) 95+
A stunning, vivid wine, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace jumps from the glass with exotic red-toned fruit. Pomegranate, plum, mint and floral notes meld together in a rich, resonant wine endowed with tons of flesh and pure volume. The combination of fruit, acidity and structure is so divine that the Red Rock could be enjoyed today, although ideally it is best cellared for at least another decade or so. (AG)
Generally warmer than Gravelly Meadow, Red Rock is a terraced hillside facing north across the Diamond Creek lagoon toward Volcanic Hill. It’s the richest and fattest of the three wines in 2010, a bold stroke of black fruit across the palate. Sweet, plummy and generously oaked, this wine’s baby fat doesn’t manage to completely hide its formidable structure. The detail in the tannins develops with air, in a raw silk texture and scents of conifer. Contrast that with high notes of jasmine and ginger root and the complexities begin to emerge.
You’ll find the hard tannins associated with Diamond Creek’s Cabs, as well as an iodine, metallic brittleness to this wine. The combination of the two makes this as tough as any young Napa Valley Cabernet could be. However, the core is potent, suggesting intensely concentrated black currants and blackberries, reduced to their elemental essence. Do not touch this wine before 2020, and it should still be going strong in 2030. *Cellar Selection*
The challenge with the trio from Diamond Creek is to array them in some sort of order. They are always close, and, if we prefer one to the other, it is never by much and each of these lovelies could wind up in your cellar and serve you well for years to come. This wine is highlighted by inviting aromas of fresh currants, red fruits and touches of spice and dark soils with a faint cola note. Like its mates, it is medium-full in body, and, here, its tannins are a bit more polished even though equally evident. Optimum balance is achieved by its combination of attractive, energetic pieces rather than from structure alone, and we would expect this one to grow for a decade and more.
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow is quite dark and imposing in this vintage. Sweet tobacco, menthol, cloves and mocha form a gorgeous fabric in this deep, supple Cabernet Sauvignon. I won't be surprised if the Gravelly Meadow turns out to be one of the overachievers of the year. There is a lot to like here. (AG)
The old vines planted in 1968 at Gravelly Meadow produced a quieter 2011 than Volcanic Hill; it’s saturated with blue and blackberry flavors at a cool moment of ripeness. The wine’s beauty shifts in and out at different moments over the course of several days, sometimes sunny, plum sweet and a little gruff in its tannins, sometimes shadowed and elegant. It feels the most structured of the three Diamond Creek 2011s, at times tough, brisk and precise.
From the winery’s most pebbly five-acre section of vineyard atop Diamond Mountain, this is dark black-purple in color. The tannins are soft but powerful, eager to age through 2025–2027, while the fruit lies on the currant and plum side of things, with a bit of cedar lurking through. *Cellar Selection*
There is plenty to like here as well, and, while we might prefer the other pair of offerings from Diamond Creek, we have little but praise for this wine too. It is slightly less outgoing even while having a nicely supple texture at entry and a smoother mouthfeel. It is likely to come into itself a tad sooner, and that would make it the choice of the trio for current and nearer-term enjoyment. It takes black cherries as its first focus and will certainly continue to improve for a half-dozen years and more.
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill is soft, pliant and nicely resonant in the glass. Plums, black cherries, mocha, spices and new leather are all laced together. This is a distinctly forward, supple Volcanic Hill to drink now and over the next 15-20 years, give or take. (Antonio Galloni)
This south-facing wall of white volcanic tuff produced a great 2011, complete and healthy, with all its elements tuned for long aging. It feels cool and rich, a chewy, expansive cabernet that’s more accessible, with more balanced baby fat, than is typical for Volcanic Hill. The tough undergirding of tannins is finely integrated into the fruit, so the wine finishes savory and spicy even as the generous sense of plushness continues.
The Volcanic Hill section of Diamond Creek’s vineyard on Diamond Mountain is, as advertised, influenced by volcanic soils. The wine imparts a chalky consistency to some extent, rounded out by dark, ripe plum and mocha, with a long, intense finish. Age through 2025. *Cellar Selection*
Strikes a balance between dusty currant, plum and berry flavors, showing cedary oak and fresh-turned earth nuances. At points elegant and supple, this remains pleasingly firm, with gripping tannins on the finish. Best from 2015 through 2024.
There are 2,800 cases of the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa. Composed of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot, its deep ruby/purple color is followed by a classic nose of licorice, underbrush, blackcurrants and toast. Medium to full-bodied with supple tannins and a lush, succulent, heady mouthfeel, it can be enjoyed over the next decade. (RP)
(includes 7% merlot, 5% malbec and 3% petit verdot; aged in 55% new oak): Bright purple. Intense, smoke-accented aromas of cherry and blackcurrant, with Indian spice and floral notes adding complexity. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering energetic dark fruit flavors and a hint of chewing tobacco. Closes tangy and long, with slow-building tannins and very good focus.
One of the great values in Napa Valley, David Ramey's 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is fabulous. The flavors are bold, intense and creamy, with silky tannins, voluptuous energy and tons of pure balance. The 2012 is delicious today, but also has enough depth to drink well for another decade-plus. (AG)
Lastly, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow, from the smallest of the parcels at five acres, seems to be the most gravelly (pardon the pun) and with loads of minerality it’s a more backward tannic style. Offering less obvious pleasure, but loads of structure and minerality, it’s an intellectual interpretation of Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s full-bodied, rich and needs a good decade of cellaring. 94+ (RP)
Diamond Creek's 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow opens with an intensely mineral bouquet redolent of graphite, smoke, crushed rocks, incense and dark cherry jam. There is plenty of vintage 2012 richness, but the Gravelly Meadow deftly balances opulence and structure. Today, the Gravelly Meadow is the most dense and unctuous of the wines here. 95+ (AG)
The estate’s greatest red ever? Impressive aromas of clay, dust and blueberry. Lots of blackcurrant, too. Pure fruit. Full body, velvety and soft, cashmere-textured tannins. Try in 2020.
*Three Stars* Wonderfully precise in its varietal focus and showing exceptional continuity and length, Diamond Creek's Volcanic Hill bottling is, at even this tender age, a complex and layered wine of great depth and dimension. What it is not, however, is in any way flashy or extravagant and its incisive Cabernet fruit is enriched with lovely, wholly complementary oak. Its balanced composition makes it one of the stars of an outstanding vintage, and it is poised to age beautifully for years to come.
Blackberries, blackcurrants and minerals. Full body and tight tannins. Powerful and long. Amazing depth and structure. Muscular. Classy tannin structure. This needs a few years to soften but amazing.
The 2012s from Diamond Creek represent an homage to founder Al Brounstein and the winery’s 40th anniversary. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill is a big-time winner, with notes of charcoal, red and black fruits, cedar wood and a rich, full-bodied mouthfeel are followed by a concentrated, structured age-worthy wine that should last at least 25-40 years, if you go by past history. These were some of the most age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignons made in the world. (RP)
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill is the most searing and intense of these 2012 Cabernets from Diamond Creek. Crushed rocks, lavender, mint, graphite, spices and blue/purplish fruit hit the palate in an intensely mineral, savory Cabernet built for cellaring. The flavors are bright and finely-sculpted throughout. While there is plenty of tannin underpinning the fruit, the tannin is polished and beautifully integrated. Beams of acidity and tannin propel the finish. One of Napa Valley's historic estates, Diamond Creek celebrates their 40th anniversary with the 2012 harvest. Readers will see bottles with special black labels in memory of founder Al Brounstein. As for the wines, well, they are as huge as always, but with perhaps a bit more accessibility than is the norm. Diamond Creek makes three main Cabernets, plus in some vintages a smaller selection from the Lake Vineyard, which in 2012 was mostly bottled in large formats. All of the Cabernet vineyards on the property are co-planted with bits of Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, but the wines are usually 85-90% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are aged in 100% new oak, although some lots may see a second new barrel towards the end of aging. (AG)
Tasted recently at the estate, the 2012 Volcanic Hill showed the best among Diamond Creek’s three main vineyard sites. This south-facing slope of white volcanic soil benefited from an even growing season without aggressive heat spikes; the wine doesn’t show the sunny warmth that it often does in hotter vintages, its power more reined in. On another day, from different bottles, Red Rock and Gravelly Meadow outperformed it at our panel tasting; Volcanic Hill was luscious and rich, while the tannins brought some cool greenness to the dark berry fruit. It’s mossy and cool, even as the warmth of the site pushes from behind the tannins, creating a dynamic that should play out in intriguing ways as the wine ages.
*Cellar Selection* 0 An waft of leather saddle opens this release from an historic Diamond Mountain site celebrating 40 years of wines with this vintage. Soft and refined, it’s a complex expression of cassis, black currant and mountain tannins, well integrated and age-worthy. The finish is lengthy in a touch of coffee. (VB)
A complex, austere style, highlighting flavors of loamy earth, cedary oak, dusty berry and dried herb. Combines the strength of earthiness with a measure of structure and refinement, ending with a black licorice note. (JL)