2012 Larkmead "The Lark" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
There are 290 cases of the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the most expensive wine from Larkmead, the 2012 Proprietary Red The Lark. Coming from rocky soils, the wine displays wet rock-like minerality and flavors. Full-bodied with great texture, it is a dense, pure red offering blueberry and blackberry fruit intermixed with camphor and acacia flowers. This killer effort should drink well for 20-25 years. As I have written before, this is an extraordinary estate spread out in one contiguous parcel (unusual) in the center of the Napa Valley floor, north of St. Helena and south of Calistoga. Proprietor Cam Baker farms 110 acres, and the Cabernet Sauvignon is the Olmo Clone which became well-known as the Eisele Clone when it was planted in the famous vineyard of that name. A singular characteristic of the Larkmead vineyard is that it has a strong vein of old river gravel. Former winemaker Andy Smith has moved on and has been replaced by Dan Petroski, who has not missed a beat finishing the 2012s and producing the 2013s, which Cam Baker believes might be the vintage of the century for Larkmead. (RP)
You can smell the blueberry and gravel character. Full body with great depth of fruit and structure. A wonderful inner sense of form and agility. A blend of Larkmead's two best vineyard parcels. Only made in the best vintages. This follows the 2009. No production in 2010 and 2011. Pure cab. 270 cases made.
All the best elements of the year come together in the 2012 the Lark. A captivating bouquet laced with the essence of lavender, spices, black cherries, cedar and smoke melds into layers of intense dark fruit, all supported by firm yet well-balanced tannins. Powerful and explosive to the core, the Lark is another 2012 from Larkmead that is built for cellaring. The style is ripe, full-bodied and intense, yet all the elements are in the right place. This is a stunning set of wines from Larkmead. The 2012s are big, powerful Cabernets that will require quite a bit of patience. They are among the most structured wines of the year I tasted. The 2013s are even more intense. After a little bit of a hiccup with 2011, the winemaker transition from Andy Smith to Dan Petroski seems to have occurred pretty smoothly. Petroski has a decidedly Old World-leaning palate, which seems very well suited to the kinds of wines that seem to emerge pretty naturally from this historic Calistoga site. Longtime Larkmead fans will note a few changes in the wines, such as a move to make Cabernet Franc an important component in the LMV Salon and the evolution of the flagship Lark to a single-parcel wine, rather than a field or cellar selection. Personally, I very much like what is coming out of Larkmead these days, and that is no way a critique of prior vintages, but rather an observation of what looks like a very bright future here. (AG)
A gorgeous Cabernet, plush, rich and layered, with excellent structure, acidity and tannins. The flavors of mocha, blackberry and wild berry are spot on, ripe and juicy, gaining dashes of espresso, loamy earth, cedar and cigar box on the long finish. Best from 2018 through 2030. 290 cases made.