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Wine Advocate | Rating: 100
A blend of 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec (52% Chalk Hill, 45% Alexander Mountain Estate and 3% Bennett Valley fruit), the 2008 may have even greater intensity and richness than the 2007. Still young and unformed, it exhibits phenomenal richness and equilibrium as well as a finish that lasts nearly a minute. Its dense plum/purple color is accompanied by notions of black fruits, forest floor, truffles and spring flowers. It should age for 25-30+ years.
Author: Robert Parker
Three wines are made. La Muse is the Pomerol in the lineup, based on 82-92 percent Merlot depending on the vintage, with the balance of Cabernet Franc and just a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon. La Joie is the Pauillac blend, built on 64-75 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and therefore a bit more structured, whereas the Le Désir is the Saint Emilion in the trio, a lovely wine where Merlot and Cabernet Franc make up around 80-85 percent of the blend, most often in relatively equal parts.
All wines are crafted in more or less the same way, vinified in small lots and then transferred into brand new French oak barrels to spend 14-16 months including the time for malolactic fermentation. They are all bottled without fining or filtration.
The year 2008 reminded Napa Valley producers of the climate conditions their European colleagues often battle. The wild weather put the vineyards to the test and required more measures than usual to ensure an optimal harvest. Due to the exceptional weather conditions, the terroir played a significant role in shaping the character of the resulting wines. Some of the influencing factors were soil quality, vineyard-specific weather patterns, the age of vines and the farming methods used
After the extensive 2008 Napa Cabernet tasting, there were no great qualitative differences, however, as the wines at the tasting all represented some of the best that these top producers have to offer. Although the scores ranged between 86 and 96 points, the differences will even out through longer ageing, as the wines will reach their optimum drinkability within 10–15 years. It was wonderful to note that a great deal of the wines were characterised by a seductively succulent fruitiness, which made many of them enjoyable already – more than half of the wines have scored 90 or more points, despite their young age. Whereas the great 2007 vintage contains very refined and long-lived wines, the 2008 wines charmed tasters with their open and generous style, even though their best days are still far in the future.