2012 Larkmead "The Lark" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1274211 99 points 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 Former winemaker Andy Smith has moved on and has been replaced by Dan Petroski, who has not missed a beat finishing the 2012s and producing the 2013s, which Cam Baker believes might be the vintage of the century for Larkmead.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)  (10/2014)

98 points James Suckling

 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.  (7/2015)

95 points Vinous

 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)  (9/2014)

94 points Wine Spectator

 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.  (11/2015)

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Price: $360.00

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
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Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.