Good deep ruby. Lovely lift and purity to the aromas of cassis, violet and bitter chocolate. Juicy, vibrant and intense; less dense than the 2007 but more perfumed in the mid-palate. Very fine-grained wine, finishing long and aromatic, with firm tannic bite and a late note of bitter chocolate. 'Two thousand eight was an impossible year to make 15% wines with a 4.0 pH in Napa Valley,' said Bo Barrett, adding that 'it's more fun to be working in the classical world. In 2008, there's less jam to block the terroir and minerality of the vineyard. Due to all the sunlight, we made Cabernet jam in 2007, but the vineyard influence shows more clearly in 2008 and 2006.' The estate purchased some small tanks for this vintage and thus the team was able to pick with more precision. Barrett also told me he backed off on the pumpovers, relying more on delestage (rack-and-return) for cap management. (ST)
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a gorgeous, mid-weight wine laced with mint, cassis, sweet herbs and tobacco. It is an understated, gracious wine from start to finish. This is a relatively approachable vintage for the Estate. It shows tons of finesse and mid-palate generosity while maintaining a medium-bodied personality. Today it is quite young, although it is drinking well. Readers who prefer more tertiary notes will want to cellar the wine for at least a few years. (AG)
Good dark red with a ruby tinge; not the darkest of these more recent vintages. Lively nose combines cassis, licorice, bitter chocolate, mint, leather and vanillin oak; hinted at a slight candied fruit quality as it opened in the glass. Wonderfully sweet and surprisingly creamy in the mouth, conveying an easygoing, low-acid impression but excellent fruit intensity. Very attractive wine if not as complex as the best recent vintages at this address; some of the sweetness here may be from the oak. The dusty tannins are more obvious than those of the '07 but that may be because there's less buffering thickness of fruit in spite of the very low production. Still, this wine showed little of the herbal, even eucalyptus, character of a bottle I tried last year as part of my horizontal tasting of '08s. (ST)
Old-school, but well-done, this is tight and firm, showing a dense, balanced mix of dried currant, mineral, cedar, cigar box and tobacco flavors. Ends with good depth, range of flavor and tannins. Best from 2013 through 2023. (JL)
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