Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2017

Deep ruby color; dark cherry, leather, blackcurrant, graphite on the nose; black cherry, blackcurrant, plum, raspberry, cedar, wet rock on the palate.

Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2017

Dry; broad, approachable tannins with an appealing softness, especially after air in the glass. Subtle and complex. Medium-plus body. Fresh acidity helps bind the package together. Really nice ensemble of flavors and texture. Larkmead consistently gets superlative scores from wine cognoscenti, and this effort upholds that legacy. 14.1% ABV

Blend of mostly cabernet sauvignon and 10% merlot to add smoothness. This checks all the boxes of a top-shelf Napa cab. Especially easy, subtle drinker. You get to enjoy the quality fruit and texture without getting whammed by assertive tannins and alcohol—a restrained 14.1%. Aged 19 months in French oak, 75% new tonnellerie ermitage barrels.

Kate Solari’s parents, Larry and Polly Solari, purchased Larkmean in 1948. The website notes: “Kate rode horses and swam in what was then called Paradise Park (now Bothe State Park) and played kick the can on Main Street in St. Helena. Her parents were aware of Larkmead’s storied past and sought to honor its legacy, a philosophy they passed down to Kate and her husband [Cam Baker]. These days, Cam and Kate’s children and grandchildren are often found at the estate, continuing the family tradition at Larkmead into its fourth generation.”

Larkmead owners Kate and Cam Baker

Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2017 delivers fruit purity with impressive grace. Opulently delights from the dark-fruit attack through the lithe finish. Balanced, focused, continues Larkmead’s legacy of excellence in its niche. Pair with well-marbled steak; short ribs and other braised dishes; slow-braised venison; lamb; portabello mushrooms. Cheese—aged cheddar; gouda; blue cheese gruyere. $135

Larkmead website; rich depth and worth visiting

Larkmead vineyard with mustard blooming in newly planted blocks
Larkmead century-old gnarled vine
Larkmead harvest
Larkmead vineyard team
Larkmead vineyard manager Nabor Camarena
Larkmead tasting area