2004 Larkmead Firebelle Proprietary Blend

Winemaker Notes

100% Estate grown fruit at Larkmead Vineyards
49% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot
Aged in 50 % new French oak barrels for 18 months
1,490 cases produced

"Our 2004 Firebelle blend currently drinks more like a young Cabernet than a Merlot dominated wine, a testament to the power and structure of the Merlot we grow at Larkmead. On opening, the wine is somewhat tightly wound and dominated by dark brooding fruits and spice, to the point that it's hard to identify individual flavors. With air the wine softens and opens to reveal its inherent creamy ripe fruit and texture. The moderate summer of the 2004 season maintained the cooler, dark flavors that we prize in merlot, whereas heat at harvest allowed the Cabernet tannins to fully mature and the spice of the Malbec to assert its strong influence on the wine's complex finish.

Bright ruby/purple. Classic Larkmead aromas of cassis, black raspberry and menthol, underpinned by bitter chocolate and dried herb notes. The youthful palate is initially tightly coiled but unfolds with air to show sweet dark fruits, cocoa and brighter ripe plum flavors. The mid-palate is broad and creamy leading to a powerfully structured finish featuring cassis fruit of great purity and a spicy licorice edge.

Decant for an hour in its youth to experience the wine's full range of flavors. This large-scaled wine will further concentrate for 4 years in bottle and hold for a decade or more."

Robert Parker - 91 POINTS, Wine Advocate, 12-26-06, Issue 168

"Spicy, ripe, mocha-infused, black cherry, cedar, and underbrush aromas emerge from this soft, full-bodied, unfined, and unfiltered cuvee. Beautiful elegance, purity, and richness are present in this Napa version of a hypothetical blend of a Pomerol and St.-Emilion. It should drink well for 10-15 years."

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