(35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 32% Cabernet Franc; aged for 28 months in 65% new French oak, down from 33 months in earlier vintages): Aromas of cassis, blueberry and licorice are lifted by exotic spices. Outstanding energy leavens the sexy sweetness of this sappy, firmly structured midweight, with intense dark fruit flavors lifted by a violet element. Taut and backward like a topnotch young claret, showing a youthfully tight grain. Finishes long and energetic, with firm but sweet tannins and strong graphite minerality. Clearly the finest vintage to date for this bottling, which will not be released until the fall of 2016 and should evolve positively through the 2020s. (ST) 94+
The 2011 Columbia Valley Red Wine, like the Cabernet Sauvignon, has a serious kick of oak, but manages to hold it together and has just enough fruit to balance things out. Giving up lots of black raspberry, toasted bread, licorice, sweet oak and crushed flower, it’s full-bodied, nicely concentrated on the palate and beautifully textured. Made from mostly Merlot and Cabernet Franc, aged 28 months in new and used French oak, give it a year or two in bottle and drink it through 2026. (JD)
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