Larkmead 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA, USA
Larkmead 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Larkmead is one of the Napa Valley’s most storied and iconic wine estates, forged by a century’s worth of wine vintages that have helped to make the region one of the world’s most recognized areas for Cabernet Sauvignon. Since 1895, the Larkmead estate has been home to some of Northern California’s most unique stories and wines. The property in Calistoga was first purchased by the Coit family, who had relocated from North Carolina (the name might ring a bell—Coit Tower was named for Lillie Coit, who was saved from a fire by the SFFD, and upon her death in 1929, left a third of her fortune to the City of San Francisco). Lillie, known for her exuberant energy and intellect, was often found running around San Francisco with artists and philosophers. Once her family became concerned with her “antics”, they sent her up to the estate in Calistoga to quiet down, but she quickly turned it into a hotspot for movers and shakers to come together. She named it ‘Larkmead’ after the area's meadowlarks.
In 1948, Larkmead’s current proprietors, the Solari family, purchased this unique estate in Calistoga, at the very northern tip of the Napa Valley. This area is one of the valley’s most geologically diverse, as it’s where the Vaca and Mayacamas mountain ranges pinch together, forming the valley’s most narrow point, only a mile and a half wide. The estate’s property spans the entire valley floor, granting Larkmead access to clay, gravel and clay, a combined holy grail for Napa soils.
Renowned winemaker Dan Petroski, who relishes the diverse soils of the Calistoga estate for making incredible Cabernet Sauvignon, makes the wines at Larkmead. The 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is the best snapshot of the estate’s complete terroir. Made of 94% in Cabernet Sauvignon, with a touch of Petit Verdot, the grapes are drawn from a mix of soils throughout the estate. The wine is aged in 60% new French oak for 19 months, providing incredible complexity and power. Cabernets from northern Napa tend to have more range and minerality than those of southern Napa, and the 2016 Estate Cabernet is not an exception.
Farming: Sustainable. Heavily leaning toward Farming_Organic, not Certified
Winemaker/Chef du Cave: Dan Petroski
Grape Varieties: 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot
Soil Type: Gravel, Sand, Clay, Plesanton loam series
Vinification/Oak Usage: 19 Months in 60% New French
92-95 points - Jeb Dunnuck - Moving to the barrel samples, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is a pretty, elegant wine that lacks the richness of the 2015 yet has perfumed notes of red and black currants, spring flowers, and spice. A blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot that was harvested early in September, it’s going to need short-term cellaring. (12/2017)
94 points - James Suckling - Dense and fruity with lovely, layered tannins and lots of blueberries, blackberries and hints of dried flowers. Full body, dusty, gritty tannins and a flavorful finish. Chewy, yet will come around with two or three years of bottle age. (2/2019)
98 points - Wine Enthusiast - This stellar, powerhouse wine is perfumed in aromas of pencil, leather and sage that season a core of mineral and crushed rock. The fruit is equally savory in currant and plum, with a dusting of dark chocolate. *Editors’ Choice* (VB) (11/2019)
93 points - Vinous - The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is absolutely gorgeous. Fresh, perfumed and silky, the 2016 captures all of the most elegant qualities of the year. Crushed flowers, sweet red berries, mint, rose petal and spice notes are laced throughout in this subtle, gracious Cabernet Sauvignon. All the elements are simply in the right place. It is so great to see Larkmead's entry-level Cabernet capture all the potential it showed as a young barrel sample. (AG) (12/2018)