(2008 Vintage) "Deep ruby red-purple color. Striking aromatic profile: currant, cedar, earth, slate and cassis dominate with an edge of menthol and dried herb. As the wine opens floral and lead pencil notes emerge. The palate is immediately dynamic and penetrating with an energy that is unmistakably Larkmead. Pure blackcurrant and graphite minerality lead the way with notes of plum, cocoa and sweet mint. A creamy mid-palate is offset by youthfully intense tannins that absorb the wine's viscosity and provide great thrust and focus to its finish. Lovely fresh acidity intensifies the gravelly-stony aftertaste. Decant for an hour in its first couple of years and drink between release and 2020. Just as 2007 was a vintage in which it was hard to make wines that were anything less than memorable; so 2008 was one where obvious quality had to be earned. Fortunately our world class Estate vineyard performed with its usual self-assuredness. Low yields brought a sense of natural power and density to the wine, but our decision to harvest on the early side, has given this wine great authority of flavor along with a freshness and suppleness that are irresistible. This is unequivocally a wine of both origin and originality with a real sense of vineyard personality, class and style. It combines textural viscosity with structural tautness and an element of power held in reserve that will allow it to gradually unfold with 10 to 12 years in the cellar. As a single Estate wine it is about as far removed from generic, modern super-ripe Napa Cabernet as it's possible to imagine and tips its hat toward Bordeaux with its dominant gravelly, cedary character and predominant elegance. It impresses with its pure vineyard expression rather than extravagant fruit sweetness or fundamental size and as such is reminiscent of classic Napa Cabernet from the 1970s and 80s. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do." — Winemaker Andy Smith
Robert Parker - 95 POINTS, Wine Advocate, 12-23-10, Issue 192 "The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate reveals a Medoc-like nose of cedarwood, damp earth, black currants and hints of bay leaf and unsmoked cigar tobacco. Opulence, purity and density combined with a thick, full-bodied mouthfeel and a superb finish all suggest a wine that can be drunk now or cellared for two decades."
Wine Advocate(2004 Vintage) Rating: (90-94) - As reviewed in Wine Advocate # 162 on Dec-05
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines(2004 Vintage) Youthfully outgoing and nicely filled with black cherry fruit and lighter touches of milk chocolate and sweet red cherries, this is an engaging wine from first to last. It favors the supple, viscous portion of the texture spectrum, and its ripeness is manifest in its juicy, fleshy, obvious flavors. It will enjoy savory, long-cooked meats as its best mealtime foil.
Wine & Spirits(2006 Vintage) The 4,400-case cuvée of 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (96% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot and Cabernet Franc) is brilliant. It would probably be hard to find a Cabernet Sauvignon of this quality with this production level, all estate fruit, and such impeccable viticulture and winemaking. This wine reminded me of a great vintage of Pontet Canet in Pauillac, Bordeaux. The deep creme de cassis flavors intermixed with charcoal and lead pencil shavings soar from the glass. Its full body, stunning ripeness, sweet tannin, and substantial flavor authority make for a brilliant Cabernet Sauvignon to drink over the next two decades.
Wine Advocate(2008 Vintage) "The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate reveals a Medoc-like nose of cedarwood, damp earth, black currants and hints of bay leaf and unsmoked cigar tobacco. Opulence, purity and density combined with a thick, full-bodied mouthfeel and a superb finish all suggest a wine that can be drunk now or cellared for two decades."
Wine Advocate(2000 Vintage) Rating: 88/100 - As reviewed in Wine Advocate # 150 on Dec-03