2009 Orin Swift "Mercury Head" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1084978 93 points Wine Spectator

 A showy version Mercury Head, this is highlighted by aromatic candied apple and spice, joined by flavors of red fruit, red licorice, cherry and plum. Maintains its elegant posture and finish. Drink now through 2026.  (10/2012)

K&L Notes

Famous for their wildly popular "Prisoner" Zinfandel blend, Orin Swift also produces some seriously structured Cabernet. "Mercury Head" is 95% Cabernet and 5% Merlot from the best lots from the Morisoli and Taplin Vineyards. Low yields and highly concentrated fruit characterized 2009, in which small clusters of berries acheived perfect phenolic ripeness due to the long growing season, while cooperative weather preserved naturally bright acidity. Aged for eighteen months in 30% new French oak, this Cab is rich and lush, with ripe cassis and blackberry aromas and flavors against a backdrop of creamy vanilla, toasty caramel and baking spices. The oak is well-integrated however and the tannins ripe and long. There's a lot of fruit packed in here, with much pleasure to offer even at this young stage. Enjoy now or hold up to ten years in the cellar.

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Price: $119.99
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Varietal:

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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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.