Leading off the Cabernet-dominated releases, the 2007 El Desafio de Jonata (95% Cabernet Sauvignon the balance Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, aged in 85% new French oak) also has to be one of the top Cabernets to come out of Santa Barbara. Offering up gorgeous black currant, Asian spice, graphite, chocolate and minerality, it flows onto the palate like a barrel sample with its layers of fruit and big tannin. Still a baby, it could have 20-30 years of total longevity. Drink 2015-2027+. (JD)
(95% cabernet sauvignon, with cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot) Inky ruby. Pungent dark fruit preserves, cherry-cola and vanillin oak on the nose, with hints of woodsmoke and violet adding complexity. Lush cassis and cherry compote flavors stain the palate, with exotic candied flower and Indian spice qualities gaining strength in the glass. Dusty tannins add grip to a long, sweet, and penetrating finish. For such a rich wine there's very impressive energy and delineation as well. (JR)
Dense, rich and extracted, this powerful, tightly focused Cabernet shows notable dried currant, tobacco leaf, mineral, cedar and sage. Full-bodied and firming, this ends with drying tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2012 through 2020. 520 cases made. (JL)
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