2002 Diamond Creek "Volcanic Hill" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1011029 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill (an 8-acre, south-facing parcel) comes from white volcanic ash soils called 'tufa.' It is an extraordinarily young, full-bodied Cabernet offering plenty of blackberry, cassis, white chocolate and crushed rock characteristics along with huge tannins. In fact, I thought it was even more backward than the Red Rock Terrace or Gravelly Meadow. Intense and full with fabulous potential, this is another compelling effort from Diamond Creek. Forget it for a decade and drink it over the following 25-30+ years. These three extremely youthful and impressive wines from Diamond Creek Vineyards are all backward and in need of 5-7 years of additional cellaring. By the way, each of these three vineyards has the exact same percentage of grapes (88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot) planted in them, which makes comparing them fascinating. (RP) 96+  (6/2012)

96 points Wine & Spirits

 Volcanic Hill is a patch of white tuff soil planted to cabernet sauvignon vines Al Brounstein smuggled in from two first growths in Bordeaux back in 1966. Those vines seem to pull a mineral essence from the soil, as this wine is all about the dirt. With a day of air, it smells of freshly turned earth, along with anise, cassis and deeper, plummier flavors. The fragrant nature of the fruit is inseparable from the structure, and even though this may be the most compelling and accessible Volcanic Hill we've tasted on release, that structure is directed toward 20 years of age.  (12/2005)

95 points Wine Enthusiast

 Starts off as a closed, tight wine, aromatically speaking, and needs plenty of decanting to breathe, but once it starts to open, there's an eruption of the most refined cassis and cedar aromas. In the mouth, this is an immense Cabernet, profoundly deep in blackberry, roasted coffee and dark chocolate flavors. It is also enormously tannic, and is effectively locked down. Nowhere near ready, although decanting will help it, but it's best to hold this magnificent wine until 2007, when it should start to open, and then for at least 10 additional years. *Cellar Selection*  (8/2006)

92 points Connoisseurs Guide

 If slightly chocolaty and a touch riper in overall character than either of its two siblings, this big, mouthfilling working still has more than enough fruit going for it, and its slightly stark tannins are countered by an unmistakable sense of incipient suppleness. Like its mates, it is not one for near-term drinking, and there is no question that its insistent themes of concentrated currants will carry it through to a tasty maturity after its youthful toughness has been tamed by seven or eight years of time in the cellar. *Two Stars*  (8/2005)

91 points Vinous

 Ruby-red. Cool aromas of cassis, dark chocolate and mocha. Juicy, brisk and quite penetrating but distinctly suppler and sweeter than the Red Rock Terrace, with rich, layered flavors of cassis and blackberry. Finishes firmly tannic and long. This wine has much more breadth to buffer its tannins. (ST)  (7/2005)

Jancis Robinson

 Plenty of intensity, but not extrovert: liquorice and menthol alongside the fruit. Well crafted, still very youthful, smooth and pure and silky – super-smooth tannins. (RH) 17/20 points  (3/2012)

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Price: $174.99
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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.


- 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.
Specific Appellation:

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.