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Based on Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a blend of the five classic Bordeaux varieties. The official alcohol is relatively modest, and yet the wine has superripe black currant and cassis notes that veer into chocolate-covered raisins. It’s soft in tannins, but the acidity is brisk and balancing. Should age until at least 2020, but you can drink it now.
WA 91

A blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and the rest Malbec, the 2014 Columbia Valley Red Wine offers an impressive bouquet of black raspberries, toasted spices, licorice and integrated toasty oak. Ripe, rounded and beautifully textured, it has loads to love and should drink nicely for 7-8 years, probably longer.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (June, 2017)
WS 88

Dark and peppery, with a tangy edge to the firmly textured blackberry, fresh sage and tar flavors that play against refined tannins on the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best after 2014.

- Harvey Steinman, Wine Spectator (Nov, 2012)
An elixir of Zinfandel, Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Counoise, the fruit was sourced from two vineyards, planted in 1918 and 1933. Aged 16 months in 30% new-ish French oak, this is unlike any Zinfandel blend you’ve ever had before. Jason purposefully harvested the fruit on the earlier side, producing a wine with more acidic structure than what you would typically find with a Zin. While the wine is dense with purple and black fruit, there is an undercurrent of savory herbs and minerality that gives it lift, making this one complex field blend.
WE 91

A classic Cab blended with smaller handfuls of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, this 2011 is balanced and supple in plum, cassis and minty chocolate. The oak is accented in pretty ways by clove, sage and cardamom spice. Structured and soft, the finish is lengthy and the wine perfectly capable of waiting until 2019–2021 in a cellar.

- Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast (Nov, 2014)
WA 93, WE 93, WS 93

The 2012 Tapteil Vineyard is elegant and complex, with lots of minerality in its red plums, blueberry and floral bouquet. Full-bodied, mouth filling, layered and pure, with lots of tannin on the mid-palate and finish, it needs short-term cellaring and will be another 2012 from Ben that will see its 20th birthday in fine form. The blend here is 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Franc, all of which spent 18 months in 40% new French oak.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (June, 2015)
WA 91

The 2012 Proprietary Red Blend Family Reserve Generations honors four generations of Mondavis who have been the backbone of the Charles Krug Winery. Composed of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, 5% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, this beauty reveals lots of blueberry, mulberry and blue fruits, a dense ruby/purple color, sweet tannins, and a medium to full-bodied, elegant yet substantial style. With no hard edges, this seamless stunner is a top example of not only 2012, but of Charles Krug’s resurgence in the marketplace as a serious player. Drink it over the next 10-12 years.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (July, 2014)
WE 93

A blend of 30% Malbec, 30% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, this opens with aromas of ripe blackberries, Mediterranean herbs and cedar. The firmly structured palate doles out layers of black currants, blackberries, white pepper and licorice alongside chewy tannins. Drink through 2022.

- Kerin O'Keefe, Wine Enthusiast (March, 2017)
WA 93-95, WE 94

Tasted as a barrel sample and Betz’s take on a right bank Bordeaux, the 2012 Clos de Betz is 67% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Petit Verdot. Inky-purple in color (has anyone seen a Betz wine not inky purple?), if offers impressive cassis, plum liqueur, spring flowers and underbrush-style aromas and flavors to go with a mouth-filling, layered and voluptuous style on the palate. I love the mid-palate here, and the tannin builds through the finish, so, while it should have plenty of up-front appeal, it should also evolve for 15+ years.

As always, my visit with Bob Betz and Tyson Schiffner at Betz Family Winery (which has been owned by the Griessel family since 2011) is always one of the highlights of my trip through Washington. For the tasting at the domaine, we focused on the 2012s (I tasted the 2011s from bottle at my office in Colorado), and they are easily some of the greatest wines I’ve tasted from this estate to date. While these wines always have considerable structure and focused profiles, these 2012 have an extra dimension of depth and texture, and should not be missed!

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (June, 2014)
WA 91

The 2012 Musée is Bedell's upper level, a roughly equal blend of Merlot and Petit Verdot with 18% Malbec. It was aged for 14 months in French oak (25% new; the rest second and third use). This is my favorite of the reds this issue. It gets the nod for the purity of fruit--the fruit flavor is just concentrated and delicious here, while nonetheless avoiding anything overtly sweet or jammy. In other words, it remains a cool-climate red with a sense of refinement and understatement. That concentration of flavor without the feel of richness gives it a distinguished, classic feel. I used the word "purity" notwithstanding the extra hit of oak here. Even with that, the beautiful fruit, with just a hint of beef on the end (the Malbec?), rises above it. It also has the best length on the finish and the best structure of Bedell's group this issue.

It will be a pleasure to drink over the next decade. Hopefully, it will develop and not just hold in the cellar, too. That, admittedly, is my main concern. Dive in now; you won't care. There were 300 cases produced.

- Mark Squires, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2016)
WA 93

A blend of predominately Cabernet Sauvignon (76%) and Merlot (12%) with some Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, the 2012 Cyrus has a deep garnet color and slowly evolving nose of crème de cassis, plum preserves and cedar box with hints of underbrush, pencil lead, cloves and charcoal, plus a waft of bay leaves. The medium-bodied palate delivers tons of muscular fruit with a firm frame of grainy tannins and lively acid, finishing long with plenty of berry preserves, herb and earth layers.

- Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (April, 2017)
WS 90

Ripe and sleek, with underlying tobacco and chocolate notes adding to the deftly balanced beam of black cherry. Comes together smoothly on the refined finish. Drink now through 2018.

- Harvey Steinman, Wine Spectator (Dec, 2014)
The nose is packed with ripe strawberry, raspberry and cherry fruit as well as a lot of floral undertones. The structure of this wine is abundant with juicy, velvety tannins.

Blend: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec
Our 2014 Estate Red is soft and rich with a fragrant bouquet of black cherry, black tea and lavender. The palate is plush and round, offering flavors of black currants, tobacco leaf, dark chocolate and leather. As the flavors fan out across the palate, a distinct oak nuance intermingles seamlessly with supple tannins on the long finish. This wine is appealing in its youth, but will also age beautifully over the next 10 years.
WA 93+, WS 92, WE 91

One of the reserve wines from Ben Smith, the 2013 Bel Canto is a fabulous blend of 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Merlot that saw just under two years in 50% new French oak. It shows the lengthy elevage on the bouquet with a spicy, ripe, incense, dried flowers and currants driven style that shows a hint of evolution at first, yet continues to gain freshness and purity with time in the glass. This gives way to a complex, layered red that has fabulous mid-palate depth, building, ripe tannin and a big finish. Even with the slightly evolved style, this beauty will age gracefully. Give bottles 3-4 years and plan on drinking through 2030.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (June, 2016)
The 2014 Pirouette is a multi-layered wine with aromas and flavors of dark fruits and hints of sweet oak, licorice and cocoa that gain complexity across the palate. Richly textured, with refined tannins and a beautiful mouthfeel that provide a lengthy finish.
Rich and dramatic, packed with red and black currant, and sandalwood flavors. A complex wine with rich flavors of black currants, allspice and a hint of clove. The wine is full bodied, with velvety texture, smooth tannins and an extensive finish. The wines beautiful balance will allow this wine to age for more than ten years.

WA 94, WE 93

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot) is beautiful. Giving up lots of black and blue fruits, tobacco leaf, sweet oak and graphite, this fabulous Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernet is medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and focused, with fine tannin and impeccable balance. It shows its class on the lengthy finish as well. It's a baby and needs to be forgotten for 4-5 years and will have more than two decades of overall longevity.

Located on the warmer, eastern/northern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Eden Vineyards is one of the most historic estates in California. In addition, their wines have one of the longest track records in the region for aging beautifully. Originally planted in 1945, the estate covers roughly 40 acres today and Jeffrey Patterson makes the wines. Under their Mount Eden label, they release three Chardonnays, a single Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Their Domaine Eden label is focused on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from a vineyard lying just to the south of the estate, and also includes Bordeaux varieties from throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2016)
27% Merlot, 27% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Petite Sirah, 5% Petite Verdot. This is a deep, dark wine that brims with layered aromas of black fruits, crushed rock, violets, earth and black spice. Lush and intricate, each sip reveals more and more of this complex blend. Flavors boom long across the mid-palate, framed by well-integrated oak and ample tannins. The finish is long with hints of black spice, turned earth and mocha.
JS 94, WA 93, WE 92

The 2013 Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve, sourced from a cool vintage, is a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 6% Carménère and 5% Petit Verdot; it fermented in small stainless steel vats and matured in French oak barrels (65% new) for 22 moths. It has a very classical nose, a Bordeaux blend with aromas of blackberries, faint balsamic notes, cedar wood, graphite, cigar box, cracked peppercorns and tobacco leaves. It has a lot less new oak than the vintages of yesteryear. The palate is medium to full-bodied with the telltale Cabernet tannins, juicy fruit, and tension keeping the freshness balancing the sweet fruit. One of the finest versions of Don Maximiano.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2015)
WE 92

This is one of the most successful Syrah-Cabernet Franc blends in California. The Syrah brings blueberry and bacon flavors, and the Cabernet provides the black currant note and the tannic backbone. It’s already delicious to drink, but allow it to breathe in a decanter for one or two hours.

- Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast (April, 2013)
WA 88

The 2012 Tribute Estate Proprietary Red (from a biodynamically-farmed vineyard) is a blend of Bordeaux varietals. Its deep plum/ruby color is followed by sweet notes of cassis, black cherries and subtle oak, medium body, and good opulence as well as roundness. This consumer-friendly, lush red possesses good purity and character. Drink it over the next 7-8 years.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2014)
The Nth Degree label by Wente Vineyards are small-production, handcrafted and terroir-driven wines. Small amounts of Syrah and Cab Franc were added to this wine, adding dark fruit aromas and flavors and acidity. Hints of earthy loam and oak spice frame the wine, which needs a bit of air right now, but is drinking nicely.
WA 92

Carter makes his 2014 Proprietary Red Hossfeld Coliseum, which is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, from a relatively obscure vineyard back on Soda Canyon Road in Southern Napa Valley. This wine is big, chewy, chocolaty and mocha-infused wine with black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, loads of texture, lushness and a heady, chewy finish. It is sexy wine and there are 193 cases of it. Drink it over the next decade.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
WE 94, WA 93, WS 92

This beautiful wine includes 9% Cabernet Franc that gives a lift of floral violet and grainy cedar. Classic all around in its etchings of coconut shavings, graphite, spice and dust, the fruit is additionally savory in bright red currant and a crunch of cassis, with an underpinning of soft, succulent blackberry.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2014)
The Prisoner was created and inspired by the drinkable "mixed blacks" first made by the Italian immigrants who originally settled in the Napa Valley. Launched in 2003, The Prisoner soon became the most recognized innovative and unique Napa Valley Red Wine blend, leading the resurgence of blends by incorporating Zinfandel with the unlikely "mix" of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Charbono. Features enticing aromas of Bing cherry, dark chocolate, clove, and roasted fig. Persistent flavors of ripe raspberry, boysenberry, pomegranate, and vanilla linger harmoniously, for a smooth and luscious finish.
WE 91

Made from a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon with a sizable addition of Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, The Discussion is lovely in spicy black pepper and clove, full bodied and softly integrated in terms of tannin and oak. A brightness of red fruit shines through, along with a distinct taste of fig.

- Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast (Aug, 2016)
WA 92

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Mon Chevalier is composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot, all from Knight’s Valley and aged in large oak puncheons. The least expensive of the Morlet Cabernets, the open, round, light 2012 offers sweet white chocolate, blackcurrant and mineral notes in a full-bodied, opulent style. It can be consumed now and over the next 10+ years.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2014)