2009 Dancing Hares "Mad Hatter" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend

SKU #1088419 91 points Wine Enthusiast

 This is a thick, young blend that’s based on Merlot. It’s brooding in tannins, offering deep, impressive layers of blackberry purée, dark chocolate and bacon. This is really delicious now with big, rich fare, like short ribs, and it should be good over the next six years.  (8/2012)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Offers a mix of melted black licorice, currant, dark berry, spice and savory herb notes that are firm, structured and rich without being weighty. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2021.  (6/2012)

90 points Connoisseurs Guide

 This deep and very generously filled offering leads with rich, sweetly oaked aromas of cherries, cassis, vanilla and crème caramel, and its like-minded flavors do not miss a step. Its ample tannins provided a very solid structural frame, and it is never less than wholly filled from beginning to end. Its richness might compel drinking now, but it has a bit of back-end coarseness to lose, and the smart money says to set it aside for another five years.  (3/2013)

90 points Vinous

 The 2009 Mad Hatter is laced dark red/black fruit, licorice, tar and smoke. In 2009, Mad Hatter is mostly Merlot, and it shows in the wine's supple, resonant personality. Full-bodied and voluptuous through to the finish, the 2009 has a lot to offer over the next handful of years. Dancing Hares is a small five acre property that sits at the base of Howell Mountain. The upper portion of the site, which features a mixture of decomposed volcanic and red Aiken soils, is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, while the lower parts of the site, where the soils are rich in clay and loam, is better suited to Cabernet Franc and Merlot. (AG)  (11/2013)

K&L Notes

The "Mad Hatter" is a Bordeaux-style blend crafted by noted winemaker Andy Erickson (Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate, Ovid, Newton Vineyard, and Spottswoode, to name a few) with consulting winemaker Michel Rolland. The 2009 vintage is 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 59% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, and 7% Cabernet Franc, and was aged for 20 months in predominantly new French oak barrels.

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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.
Alcohol Content (%): 15.1