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2018 Larkmead Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $120)

SKU #1563500 97 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark This red is earthy in tones of barnyard, sage and crushed rock, with underlying plush fruit. With 15% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc included, it boasts rich red fruit that broadens and lengthens the midpalate. It shows an enduring succulence on the balanced finish. (VB) Inner quote mark (11/2020)

95 points Decanter

Outer quote mark Very savory and spice-laden on the nose, showing aromas of cigar box, chicory, sandalwood and redcurrants. The palate is beautifully multidimensional: deep but bright, weighty and forward but with great length and integration. A definitive showing of Calistoga, built for at least two decades in the cellar but will also reward those who want to check in at an earlier stage. Brought up in 66% new French oak. Inner quote mark (10/2020)

95 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Pretty aromas of currants, walnuts and fresh tobacco follow through to a full-bodied palate with dusty, chewy tannins and lots of berry, coffee and lightly toasted-oak undertones in the aftertaste. Needs some time to resolve the tannins. Inner quote mark (2/2021)

94 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark A flash of menthol leads off, followed quickly by intense cassis, blackberry preserves and plum reduction flavors. Notes of singed alder and cedar score the finish, with the menthol hint peeking back in for an encore. Distinctive. (JM) Inner quote mark (10/2021)

93 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark The base 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is a beauty, offering classic currant and mulled cherry fruits as well as plenty of cedarwood, tobacco, and spice aromas and flavors. It's rich and medium to full-bodied, with some grippy tannins and a classy finish. Inner quote mark (1/2021)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, aged in French oak (66% new), the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (White Label) has a medium to deep garnet-purple color and skips out of the glass with bright, cheery scents of kirsch, black raspberries and cassis plus nuances of red roses, pencil shavings, cinnamon stick and wild sage plus a touch of lavender. Medium to full-bodied, the palate offers a gorgeous, plush texture and just enough freshness to lift the generous black and red berry layers to a long, fragrant finish. (LPB) 93+ Inner quote mark (11/2020)

93 points Vinous

Outer quote mark The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is a fabulous introduction to the Larkmead Cabernets. It offers lovely mid-palate pliancy to match its mid-weight structure. Transparent and wonderfully nuanced, the 2018 has so much to offer. Sweet red cherry, red plum, cinnamon, mocha and cedar linger on the soft, open-knit finish. For the money, the Napa Valley Cabernet is the hidden gem in this range. (AG) Inner quote mark (1/2021)

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Product Reviews:

By: Thomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/21/2021 | Send Email
It's always a good day when our buyer opens up a bottle of one of Napa Valley’s most iconic producers. It’s been years since I last tried Larkmead and I find myself having forgotten how much character there is in this wine. Certainly not the gooey, super-ripe Modern Napa, nor the old-school, lean and aromatic classic. The first thing that stands out is the oak. This is a masterclass on Oak usage that only gives added value--notes of cedar, vanilla and sandalwood all add to the aromatic wonder of this wine, but without overpowering the depth of cassis and black cherry fruit. The palate is mouth-coating, with vertical tannin structure and a light trace of acidity that lets the richness and concentration take the leading role. This is a benchmark Napa Valley Cabernet that justifies Larkmead among the top Napa producers to date.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/21/2021 | Send Email
Year in, year out Larkmead make some of the finest wines in the valley. This iconic property, founded in 1895, has a pedigreed history of producing long-lasting, benchmark wines that have helped put Napa Valley on the map as one of (if not THE) best place on the planet to grow Cabernet Sauvignon. Larkmead's 110 acre estate has seven distinct soil types making it one of the most intricate and diverse in the region. The confluence of several rivers and creeks, plus alluvial fans off the Vaca mountains, provided the canvas for complex and layered wines many centuries ago. The vines on the estate are carefully planted, farmed and vinified according to their specific underlying soil. Each year the estate Cabernet is an astoundingly complex assemblage of dozens of these individual components. Winemaker, Dan Petroski expertly weaves these elements together to showcase the place, varietal and season. The 2018 is a wonderfully elegant wine with tons of varietal character from the first swirl in the glass - smoky black fruits, cedar, hot stone, briary notes. The palate is medium to full-bodied, refined, quite linear and focused. Lovely freshness and brightness to the fruit. Not a big, sweet wine; this is about focus and poise. Don't get me wrong, there lots of density and power here, but it's tempered by the cool growing season and Larkmead's signature restrained, cellar worthy style. The 2018 Larkmead Cabernet is an instant classic, and one you're going to want in you cellar for many years to come.

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