A perfect wine, this blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec emerges from Chalk Hill (48%), Knight’s Valley (21%), Alexander Mountain Estate (21%) and Bennett Valley (10%). Another prodigious effort, its extraordinary sweet notes of caramelized herbs, mocha, coffee, blackberries and cassis are followed by a multilayered, full-bodied wine revealing a seamless integration of acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood, and an opulent, voluptuous finish that goes on and on. It is thrilling to smell, taste and drink. Moreover, it possesses a similar seamlessness also found in the 2002 and 2001. Because of that, it can be drunk now for its primary attractions or cellared for another 30+ years. (RP)
This wine dazzles with perfection. Sourced from vineyards throughout Sonoma County, it refutes the belief that a great Cabernet must come from a single vineyard. It does not. The master’s art of blending, coupled with demanding vineyard practices lends completeness. The blend is 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec, making it an extraordinary success despite the absence of Cabernet Sauvignon. Give credit to winemaker Pierre Seillan. The wine itself is absolutely dry. It starts with a tug of tannins, baring flavors of blackberries, black currants, minerals and new oak, with earthy, herbal and meaty complexities. This is a magnificent wine; it dazzles now and should evolve over the next 6-8 years.
A blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec, this has spent 16 months in new oak barrels. It's full-bodied yet finesse-driven, with spicy, fleshy black fruits including some black cherry. It has concentration, length and elegance, with remarkable freshness and an enticing bitter almond edge. This merits a near-perfect score for its harmonious whole, combining impressive structure, velvety tannins and a savoury density. Patience will be required, as it may take up to 20 years to express its full potential. (YC)
Bright ruby-red. Musky black raspberry, espresso, mocha and caramel on the nose. Plush, seamless and strong; wonderfully energetic, delineated dark raspberry, tobacco and mocha flavors are lifted by a floral element. Finishes with terrific breadth, grip and lift, but the very firm, serious, palate-saturating tannins do not come off as dry. Like a powerful version of a Pomerol. Quite spicy throughout, especially on the subtly rising finish. Has plenty of structure for a long life in bottle. (ST)
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