Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, CA; 13% ABV
$10 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 12 Dec
This is one of three (so far) older Ardente Cabs arriving of late, along with the 2002 and 2003. My understanding is that only a few “high-volume” stores in the San Francisco Bay Area will see them, so I apologize to readers outside that range. Although this wine’s style and flavors were a little different from what I expect from Napa Cabernet, I quite liked it.
The long cork was in excellent condition, with black encrustations on the bottom. I decanted it off a bit of sediment, but the sediment was almost entirely crystalline, and easily stayed at the bottom of the bottle. So, for this wine, I completely endorse the Lim13 method of pop and pour. 🙂 Nonetheless, I thought the wine gained in complexity for its first hour in a decanter, and continued to darken in color and flavor nicely for another 1.5 hours or so. It had full flavors of dark red raspberry, purplish cherry, hibiscus tea, blackcurrant, blackberry, cedar, and earth. Although the fruit is ripe, it’s nicely balanced with tangy acid. I guess I’d point to the raspberry, hibiscus, and tangy acid as unusual for a Napa Cabernet, or any Cabernet really. The wine is fully mature but not yet showing any signs of being too old. Darrell also liked this wine and agreed it was “worth $10.”
The next day, the saved single-glass screw-cap bottle was still delicious.