On March 29 we tasted through the 2009 wines again and found the wines to be of similar stature from when we tasted back in January. The cool summer in 2009 produced long wines with subtle elegance. These are wines that show the vineyard’s character quite predominantly in each and every sniff and sip. During the March tasting we sampled trial blends and set the schedule for wine work. Starting from the top down, we are quite pleased with the quality and quantity of production of our reserve Cabernet, Solari. The wine will be made up of 100% Cabernet from four parcels on the vineyard. Our gravel dominate soils on the Highway 29 side of Larkmead’s estate carry the majority of the blend and offer penetrating aromas, breadth of mouth feel and full, ripe tannins. Classic Larkmead cassis, graphite and minerality are present here and are supported by the structured balance and brambly nuances of the Cabernet from our darker, richer soils on the Eastern side of Napa River.
We’ve also put together the core of our Bordeaux blend, LMV Salon. Historically this wine has been a blend of all five Bordeaux grape varieties planted on the Estate – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. With our initial blend the wine maintains quite a palate with only four of the varieties included this year. We’ve left out Petit Verdot from this year’s initial blend. Right now the blend consists of 63% Cabernet, 16% Cabernet Franc, 16% Malbec and 5% Merlot. Think about the Solari above and add in some bay leaf and woodland aromas of the Cabernet Franc. Mix a bit of blackberry liqueur from the Malbec and creamy, ripe, black-skinned plums from the Merlot and you’ll have a hedonistic view of this vintage’s Salon.
Year in and year out we have had the good fortune of working with some amazing natural resources here at Larkmead. And today we continue our praise of the elevated levels of care and meticulous farming that is really allowing the Larkmead wines to sing these past few vintages.
We’re in the midst of racking and blending our 2009 Estate Cabernet (the week of April 12) and similarly the Firebelle (the week of April 19). I’ll post an update when we complete those wines and they begin their next stage of development in barrel.
Dan Petroski, Associate Winemaker