For those not living in California, most areas are under a “no fireworks ordinance” due to the dry vegetation growth, heat and low humidity (plus social distancing). That said, this wine was pulled from the cellar and created a spectacular “fireworks display” on the nose and palate. Dan Petroski, winemaker for Larkmead Vineyards, has consistently produced exquisite and age worthy wines for years. This has rested comfortably for 8 years in the cellar and was truly worth “stashing away”. It received 96 points and could have easily received 98 (IMHO). It was aged for 20 months in 72% new French oak barrels and being 100% estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon.
Firstly, this wine was filtered and decanted for 2 ½ hours before the meal. On the eyes, an extremely dark purple color and medium heavy viscosity. One smell of the wine, your expectations were focused and expectations set! It is a fruit driven vintage, with aromas of raspberries, blueberries and vanilla. On the palate, it burst open with an extravaganza of flavors like the conclusion at a major fireworks display. The earthiness counterbalanced with floral notes, soft vanilla tobacco, black cherry and licorice provide explosion after explosion in the mouth. The finish was one of the longest lasting wines this year. The tannins were still omnipresent with structure and the acidity was truncated due to the expressive fruits. This is a wine that beckoned one to sip and savor each droplet in the glass. This definitely will make my Best Wines of 2020! The current release is 2016 and the winery sells it for $200.
Paired with a seared BBQ New York steak marinated in Chaka sauce for 24 hours. Accompanied with roasted Yukon Gold cut potatoes with olive oil, garlic and seasonings. Also a fresh garden salad followed with Blue Cheese dressing.
I have a few more bottles still to open, but will push out a year or two as it has the staying power to continue to age and develop.
While we definitely did not have outdoor fireworks this year, having this Larkmead Vineyard 2009 Solari provided an equally satisfying substitute with heart pounding explosions and colors. Excellent wine Larkmead Vineyards!