Red, For laying down

2012 Cardinale, Napa Valley, Cardinale Winery

2012 Cardinale, Napa Valley, Cardinale Winery

Red | For laying down | Cardinale Estate | Code:  33335 | 2012 | USA > California > Napa | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Full Bodied, Dry | 14.5 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

WA

98/100

WA - Cardinales 2012 Proprietary Red, the flagship wine from the Jackson Family, was looked after and put-together by winemaker Chris Carpenter from numerous vineyard sites traversing Napa Valley. The 2012's final blend was 84% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Merlot with 94% new French oak used. Terroirists undoubtedly lament the fact that nine different vineyards and seven different appellations were utilized, but the resulting wine is prodigious. A dense purple color is accompanied by notes of graphite, blackberries, blackcurrants, roasted coffee, vanillin, baking spices and forest floor. With enormous complexity and richness as well as full-bodied power and voluptuousness, it is a wine of exceptional purity, intensity, and well-integrated acidity, alcohol, tannin and wood. This seamless, majestic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated 2012 should drink well for two decades.
Robert M. Parker, Jr. - 31/10/2014

The Producer

Cardinale Estate

Cardinale Estate

Jess Jackson’s & Christopher Carpenter's acclaimed viticultural venture, Cardinal, makes wine from a selection of diverse Napa Valley regions, including Veeder Peak, Keyes Vineyard on Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain, Diamond Mountain, the To-Kalon Vineyard in Oakville and the Andrew Geoffery Vineyard. All are situated in the Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges surrounding the Napa Valley.

Cardinale creates a single wine from each vintage. The wine is a limited production Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend. Made from select lots of low-yielding vines,  pressing is done in traditional basket presses, with the young wine placed into 100% new, tightly grained, French Chateau styled oak barrels for extensive aging.

The Grape

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.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.

The Region

Napa

Napa

North Coast's Napa Valley is California's most famous viticultural area (AVA), claiming some of the most expensive agricultural land in the world and producing wines of ‘cult’ status.

Its 16,000 ha of vines lie over a strip (40 miles long-5 miles wide) of diverse soils (clay, gravely, volcanic), with its northernmost end on the side of Mountain Helena and its foot in San Francisco Bay. The valley is framed by two mountains ranges Vaca (to the north) and Mayacamas (to the south), yet the main climatic influence is the cool wind and fog that is sucked in from San Pablo Bay during the afternoon, allowing grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. 

The area enjoys a variety of unique microclimates, as temperatures can vary dramatically as much as 15 degrees, from the north to the south end of the valley. These differences have led to the creation of several sub-AVAs (14 in total) including:

Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley District, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Los Carneros, Mt. Veeder, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Spring Mountain District, Stags Leap District, Yountville, Wild Horse Valley and Oak Knoll District. The Calistoga AVA is still pending approval.

Both the “Napa Valley” designation and the sub-AVA name must appear on the wine label simultaneously, with the exception of wines from the Carneros AVA, which is shared between the Napa Valley and the Sonoma County.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the undisputed king of Napa grapes, occupying over 45% of the vineyard acreage, followed by (predominantly) Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cab. Franc and to a lesser extent Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Barbera, Dolcetto.

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