So softly delicious, so complex and sensually satisfying, this Bordeaux blend, which is based on Cabernet Sauvignon and contains all the other classic varieties, is truly a wine to savor. The blackberry and cassis flavors have an edge of chocolate, and the deliciousness is compounded by superbly ripe, sculpted tannins and a long but thoroughly dry finish. Dazzlingly good, and could develop bottle complexity over the years.
First planted in 1998, the 15-acre vineyard at Arkenstone Ranch rises up the western side of Howell Mountain from 1,400 to 1,650 feet. It's focused on Bordeaux varieties—this blend including Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc, with Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. The volcanic Howell Mountain soils come through in the wine's mineral core, a dark savor somehow extracted from white tuff. It tastes of black raspberries and pomegranate, the tension of the fruit carried along a sleek texture. This should be at its best eight to ten years from the vintage.
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