2009 Larkmead Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1087135 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon bursts from the glass with a rush of black fruit, smoke, licorice, graphite and tar. All the elements flow together gracefully towards the big, fleshy finish. There is plenty of tannin to support the fruit, suggesting the wine will drink well for a number of years. I especially like the way the wine keeps growing in the glass. This is one of the firmer, more vibrant 2009s readers will come across. Simply put, it is fabulous. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029. Larkmead is one of the historic estates in Napa Valley, with a rich lineage that goes back to 1895. The wines I tasted with proprietor Cam Baker and winemaker Andy Smith were all exceptional. Most importantly, though, these are highly individualistic wines loaded with true personality and class. Pricing remains exceedingly fair by Napa Valley standards, considering the quality of what is in the bottle. (AG)  (12/2011)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (blended with 12% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Franc): Ruby-red. Blackberry, licorice, minerals and chocolate on the nose, plus a whiff of shoe polish. Dense, spicy and nicely delineated, with excellent intensity to the dark cherry and mineral flavors. Firmly structured Cabernet with granular tannins and a suggestion of medicinal reserve. This will need at least four or five years of bottle aging. (ST)  (5/2012)

K&L Notes

San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Wines of 2012: "One of Napa's historic names, Larkmead is becoming a bridge between the valley's legacy and the best of its modern style. The 2009 frames the brilliance of this approach, with a rewarding ripeness expressed through winemaking that trades maximum extract for nuance, an approach that never feels driven by a quest for big fruit. Mint-accented, deep and plummy, with great graphite and earth accents, here's an extraordinary interpretation of Calistoga's great gravelly soils."

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Price: $109.99

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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 M├ędoc 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.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.7