Napa Valley, CA; 14.4% ABV
a project of North Berkeley Wines
$7.00 at the Richmond, CA, store on 11 Nov. (I thought it was $7.99 but that’s what receipt says.)
This wine starts out very promising, with complex red fruits, and became more tasty pretty quickly, but took about an hour in a decanter to fully air. It has a rich nose of dark blue / black and red fruits. On the palate, it shows classic Napa Cabernet flavors of purple / red cherry, black and red currants, nearly blackberry, and vanilla / oak. The flavors are nicely elegant in a medium full body, with a tannic finish. The fruit is perhaps a little sweet for my taste, but this is a small quibble. While I expect this could hold on, and probably even improve for a few years, there’s no need to wait to drink it.
The NBW web site says: Deep, penetrating aromas of poached black plums and ripe black cherry brood and pour from the glass. The mouth is endlessly silky, with luscious flavors of more black fruits and expressive baking spices. A gorgeous blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot; just a touch of oak for structure and a hint of vanilla spice. After I wrote the above, the wine continued to air, over 2.5 hours or so after opening (again, this long airing time may be partly a result of bottle transit shock, since I got it right after it arrived), to where the NBW description is much more accurate. I don’t really taste the Cabernet Franc, except perhaps in some of the spice, and maybe the tannin.
One GO wine steward commented to me recently that people seemed to be willing to pay a bit more for something from Bordeaux even when there was a much better CA wine for the same or lower price. I’m reminded of that comment when I compare the recent 2009 Château Lacaze. That wine was pretty bad; this is a great bargain, for a dollar (or two?) less.