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2011 Firebelle Blend


This is one of our most rewarding and most intriguing blends born in a vintage that was known to be one of our most challenging.

"Sweet red and black currant fruit intertwined with hints of sweet and sour cherries, a whiff of herbaceousness and a medium bodied, elegant style."
Wine Advocate, October 2013

~ $80.00

Production:1,243 Cases
Fruit:100% Estate grown fruit, produced and bottled at Larkmead Vineyards
Varietal Composition:42% Merlot, 27% Malbec, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc
Aging:Aged for 20 months in 54% new medium toast French oak barrels
Cooperages:Tonnelleries Bossuet and Ermitage

The 2011 Firebelle immediately differentiates itself on the nose from its predecessors by leading with a sum of secondary aroma characters that eclipse the wine’s less evident, but seductive blue fruit profile. The earthy nose with hints of savory, dried herbs and licorice root make for dazzling complex perfume that causes you to pause, allowing time to reveal the plum and hint of bramble fruit sweetness that Firebelle is known for. In the mouth the complexities continue with an intense floral component that emerges from dry, forest floor fruit and cedar wood. The wine is fresh and the tannins frame the palate and begs for a second sip to replenish the lingering sweet and savory finish.

In many ways our new Estate Cabernet release is a throwback to the classic Napa style of the 1970s and 80s. As befits this colder than cold growing season, the fruit is slightly less plush than usual but the level of non—fruit complexity is greatly heightened. With time in the glass, the wine softens and broadens and actually reveals more depth on the second night from a previously opened bottle, as the strong vineyard character unfolds in predictable fashion. The wine displays a real Bordeaux—esque fine—grained texture and the expression of our gravelly soils comes across with particular clarity.

Ten years from now the 2011 vintage will be talked about for its “class” and “subtlety”. It will be a vintage that is reminisced about because it was an opportunity for us to turn down the volume and listen to the secondary characters in our wines – characteristics that are often the most interesting. This Firebelle which spent its early life as a co-fermented wine saw a healthy addition of Malbec thirteen months prior to bottling. The most Malbec we’ve ever added to Firebelle gives this vintage a deep, floral beauty at the surface which lingers above the brambly, blue fruit character of the Merlot, the red cherry Cabernet and the spicy and inherently herbal Cabernet Franc. It is one of our most rewarding and most intriguing blends born in a vintage that was known to be one of our most challenging.

The 2011 wines drink older than they are – with less fruit forwardness these wines already show the nuance of a wine 7-10 years old. Enjoy that upon release, but with an additional 2-3 years in the cellar the aromas and flavors will begin to overlap and build more fascinating layers of complexity that you will enjoy for the next ten years.