The 2019 Quintessa is one of the best wines I have tasted here in some time. Broad swaths of tannin wrap around a core intense dark plum, mocha, licorice and spice. The 2019 clearly needs a few years in bottle to come together. Quintessa is a large, sprawling property with many different exposures. My feeling is that it may not ultimately be suited to making a single large production flagship wine, but that perhaps a series of smaller production wines might showcase the site better.
Drink 2024 - 2036
Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (Jan 2022)
Drink 2027 to 2042
Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (February 2022)
So much earth and spice with walnut and wet earth. Like fog laying over the valley in the morning. Black fruit. Medium-to full-bodied with super-fine tannins that are long and persistent, with graceful progression and length on the palate. So long, with real definition. September 2022 release. From biodynamically grown grapes. Hard not to drink now, but will age wonderfully.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Jan 2022)
I was blown away by the 2019 Red Blend from Quintessa, which is up with the crème de la crème of the vintage. Based on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Carmenère, this full-bodied beauty has a perfectly balanced, seamless, yet expansive and classic 2019 style as well as gorgeous aromatics of cassis, flowers, chalky minerality, and integrated oak. It’s hard to resist already, but I have no doubt this will evolve for 20 years if stored properly.
Drink 2022 - 2042
Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (Apr 2022)
This is a winemaker's master class in blending and understanding of a long-standing site. Dried herb, cedar and pencil shavings accent lifted red fruit and brilliant acidity on the palate, with a supple yet still youthfully grippy texture that is framed by structured, graceful tannins.
Drink 2029 - 2039
Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast (Jan 2022)
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.