Drink 2025 to 2042
Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (February 2022)
The 2016 Proprietary Red Wine is blended of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Carménère, with all fruit coming from the Quintessa estate, and it aged for 20 months in 73% new French oak. Very deep purple-black in color, it comes bounding out of the glass like a pedigree pup with exuberant notions of crème de cassis, warm blueberries and black cherries with hints of redcurrants, kirsch, candied violets, crushed rocks, cigar box and fallen leaves plus a waft of truffles. Full, rich and beautifully laced with layers of floral notes and fragrant earth, the profound black and blue fruits build slowly in the mouth, achieving great energy and depth with a beautiful velvety frame, finishing long and perfumed.
Drink 2021 - 2048
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate
What a nose – this delivers much more complexity and richness than you might expect at this age. There's plum and bramble fruit, but also loads of liquorice, aniseed, spice and iodine. Proper stuff, shows how great Napa combines luscious fruit with genuine complexity.
Richard Hemming MW, jancisrobinson.com (Mar 2022)
Phenomenal aromas of crushed berries, forest fruit, mushrooms and iron. Medium to full body, with layers of soft and refined tannins that follow through to a beautiful finish. Extremely long and refined. This shows depth and structure with balance and harmony. Hard not to open the bottle now and drink it, but it appears to be closing down now. Needs four to five years to show it all.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
About this WINE
Quintessa is a single 75-hectare estate, belonging to the Franciscan Group, which lies in the heart of Rutherford. The estate includes a valley, a lake, a river and 5 hills with 5 distinct soil types. It is unique in the sheer diversity it encompasses. Valerie Huneeus, a scientist and viticulturist, has developed the vineyards from the ground up, utilising the latest vineyard technology.
Quintessa is an American Bordeaux blend or "meritage" comprising Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (30%), and Cabernet Franc (10%). It is aged in small French barrels (75% new) for 18 months. The inaugural vintage was 1996 and already Quintessa is being talked of as a Californian classic.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.