This is the wine our California editor Luke Sykora wanted to drink, and tasting it side by side with Rubicon, I had to admit that it showed beautifully. Cask is 85 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance mostly Cabernet franc and a little Merlot. In the past, the team at Inglenook described the difference between their two top Cabernets as Rubicon presenting the riper black fruits of Rutherford, and Cask focusing on red fruits. In 2012, the situation for me was reversed; Cask had the darker fruit at our tasting, still cool in tone and not heavily extracted. It brought out a rocky, stony firmness in the tannins, where Cabernet grape-skin freshness matched the monumental feel of the oak impact. These are fascinating wines to taste in tandem over the course of several hours with friends…and over the course of several days, if you have a bit left in the bottles.
A firm and silky red with currant, light chocolate and walnut aromas and flavors. Ultra-fine tannins. Full to medium body, delicately austere tannins and a pretty finish. Second wine of Inglenook. Drink or hold.
There have been a number of changes of late at Inglenook, so I was anxious to taste the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask. This wine was first created in 1949 and during that era, through the 50s and early 60s, was considered one of the finest wines of California. This is the best, young Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon I have tasted during my professional career of 35 years. Dense ruby/purple with classic crème de cassis, but underlying minerality and spice box. The wine is full-bodied, but not over-the-top, yet nevertheless authoritative, rich and quite long. There is a thickness and concentration I haven’t seen from this estate in many a year and this wine should age beautifully for 20-25 years at the very minimum. 93+ (RP)
A bold, dramatic wine, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask offers plenty of the radiance of the vintage, along with sweet floral and spice notes that add lift to the expressive red fruit. Deep, unctuous and supple throughout, the 2012 Cask is an excellent choice for drinking over the next few years. Dark cherry, raspberry jam and mocha with attractive smoky savory underpinnings add the closing shades of nuance in this very pretty, silky Cabernet Sauvignon from Inglenook. The 2012 has really blossomed over the last year. This is the last vintage the designation 'Cask' was used for Inglenook's Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2012 is in a great spot right now, where all the elements have come together and the wine is super-expressive. (AG)
Both bottles displayed a Bordeaux-like character, presenting seductive dill and cedary oak notes, which add texture and depth to the licorice-laced currant and dried herb flavors. Very complete and a good bet to gain. Drink now through 2024. (JL)
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)