The top Cabernet is the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Dancing Bear Ranch, which comes all from the Howell Mountain AVA. It's another inky colored beauty boasting a terrific perfume of black and blue fruits, ground herbs, spice box, graphite, and forest floor. With brilliant minerality on the palate as well as full-bodied richness and an expansive, opulent texture, it has sweet tannins and is approachable today, yet will benefit from short-term cellaring and cruise for 25-30 years. It's one of the few 2017s to come close to its 2016 counterpart. Bravo!
Bottled only three weeks ago, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Dancing Bear Ranch is composed of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 1% Merlot, having spent 22 months in 60% new French oak. Very deep garnet-purple in color, it reveals beautiful notions of kirsch, red and black currant preserves, raspberry pie and warm plums with hints of red roses, stewed tea, underbrush and cinnamon stick. Medium-bodied, the palate has wonderful red fruit and floral intensity intermingled with black fruits, framed by firm, grainy tannins and a wicked backbone of freshness, finishing very long and mineral laced. Very different from the epic 2016 Dancing Bear, but very exciting! (LPB) 95+
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Dancing Bear ranch is a gorgeous Howell Mountain red. Succulent black cherry, plum, licorice, spice, new leather, rose petal and blood orange all run through this deep, resonant, unctuous Cabernet Sauvignon from Cakebread. This is a very pretty wine. (AG)
Cakebread’s Howell Mountain estate vineyard rises from 1,100 to 1,900 feet in elevation, the vines ripening their fruit above the fog line, the varied parcels facing in most every direction. Stephanie Jacobs, who was promoted to winemaker in 2017, found a way to charm the fierce Howell Mountain tannins of this wine into a luscious texture that’s completely enveloping. Along with the dark-plum flavors, there’s a superripe note of yellow apricot and an earthy gingerroot spice to the acidity. Remarkably accessible for a Howell Mountain cabernet, without giving up its sense of origin, this should age with grace.
With 10% Cabernet Franc and 1% Merlot, this mountain wine is tannic and structured, with brawny, leathery black and blue fruit. Softened on the midpalate, it builds additional intensity toward the finish, ending in a note of clove, black pepper and toasted oak. (VB)
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