2010 Larkmead Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Larkmeadís entry-level 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate captivates all of the senses from the very first taste. A huge, opulent yet structured Cabernet, the 2010 shows off tons of richness, power and structure, all while maintaining considerable detail and nuance. Black currants, melted road tar and asphalt blast thorough to the intense, palate-staining finish. I canít imagine this being ready to drink before its 10th birthday. The 2010 is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec. This is a great 2010. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2030. 95+ points. I was completely blown away by Larkmead this year. The 2010s are simply phenomenal across the board. This is also a vintage in which the different terroirs Larkmead works with are vividly marked. While many wineries are aggressively pushing the boundaries of pricing, Larkmead takes the opposite approach. The fashionable cult-loving crowd might look past these offerings, but savvy readers will recognize that Larkmead Cabernet Sauvignons in particular are some of the very best wines being made in Napa Valley today. If forced to choose one top-flight Napa Valley producer that remains under the radar, Larkmead would get my vote. These are spectacular wines that deserve a much broader audience. I canít say enough good things about what proprietor Cam Baker, winemaker Andy Smith and the entire team at Larkmead are doing at this historic property.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(blended with 7% each merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc, plus 3% malbec; 62% new oak): Deep, bright ruby-red. Subdued but complex aromas of cassis, sage, bay leaf, licorice, violet and minerals. Sweet, suave and bright, with compelling inner-mouth energy and perfume to the dark berry, dark chocolate and iron flavors. Very suave and subtle blend with fine-grained tannins and captivating aromatic persistence. The 2009 was a big success but this may be finer with time in bottle. 93(+?) points
Larkmead's 2010 Cabernet is made from 100% estate-grown fruit and was aged for 20 months in 62% new French oak. From winemaker Andy Smith: "Savory dried herb, cocoa dust, graphite, intense black cherry core, cassis/mineral purity, menthol/tobacco and a subtle fragrant fennel edge. Immediate generous fruit richness. Soft and enveloping palate that maintains focus and clarity. Larkmead vineyard signature dominates with gravelly blackcurrant, complex herb notes, dark cocoa and clove. Long fine silky tannins, supple and lively that gain weight. Fruit sweetness develops with time in the glass... Our 2010 Estate Cabernet is the fullest expression of site that I can remember since the 2001 vintage. There's less emphasis on fruit extract and texture than there is on layered complexity and breezy freshness. The wine shows an effortless complexity and elegance that is not obscured by layers of bottled sunshine. It's sophisticated, not obvious and it's the combination of the wine's many nuances that form its beauty. All component parts are harmonious and integrated and it's among my favorite three or four vintages in my fifteen years at Larkmead."