The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain dazzles from start to finish. Iron, graphite, smoke, ash, crushed rocks, dark inky fruit, pencil shavings and tobacco emerge from a tightly-wound yet nuanced Cabernet Sauvignon loaded with character. The 2011 isn't an overt wine, rather it is a Cabernet Sauvignon that impresses with its persistence, energy and sheer class. Chris Carpenters makes the Diamond Mountain Cabernet from a parcel of vines planted on AXR rootstock that is slowly succumbing to phylloxera.
The inky/purple-colored 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain exhibits asphalt, camphor, burning ember and sweet blackberry and cassis notes in a deep, full-bodied, rich, supple style. Even when exceptionally well made (as these four cuvees are), the 2011s are still low in acidity with soft tannins, making them very accessible. The Diamond Mountain Cabernet should drink well for 10-15 years. Lokoya has long been one of the bright shining stars in the Kendall-Jackson Small Estates portfolio. The fact that all four of their 2011 Cabernets were among the best wines I tasted in this vintage reflects many things, among them, (1) the exceptional commitment to quality, (2) the brilliance of the vineyards and winemaker Christopher Carpenter, (3) these mountain vineyards were less affected by the challenging weather conditions of rain and fog in early and mid-October, and (4) the winemaking team had the patience to wait for perfect ripeness before harvesting these limited production cuvees. The production is even smaller than usual in 2011, ranging from 200 cases for the Diamond Mountain and Spring Mountain, 260 cases for the Howell Mountain and 840 cases for the prodigious Mt. Veeder. (RP)
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)