Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2019

Deep ruby color; black cherry, blackcurrant, blueberry, red fruits on the nose; black cherry, blackcurrant; black cherry, oak on the palate.

Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2019

Dry; supple, fabulously smooth in the mouth; tame, dusty tannins after required decanting. Balancing acidity. Structured with impressive complexity. Lush, plush. Exceptionally easy drinker with velvety mouthfeel. Larkmead consistently gets superlative scores from wine cognoscenti, this effort upholds that legacy. 14.3% ABV

Unlike some previous Larkmead efforts where there was a dose of merlot, this is 100% cab play. Wine spent 18 months in 71% new tonnellerie sylvain French oak, so there are oak flavors, but with the rich plushness of the dark fruits the oak is part of a nicely integrated whole, not a distraction. Very nice panoply of lushness and plushness in the midpalate, followed by exceptional length. There are more than enough tannins here to permit aging for up to 30 years. If you can’t wait that long, make sure to decant.

Larry and Polly Larkmead, Kate Solari Baker, Cam Baker circa 1962

The Larkmead estate is one of the oldest family-owned establishment in the Napa Valley. Founded in 1895, Larry and Polly Solari purchased Larkmead in 1948. Since 1993, the operation has been run by Cam and Kate Solari Baker. 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

The 110-acre vineyard is managed by Nabor Camerena. Kelly Maher is the viticulturist. Avery Heelan is the winemaker. In addition to helping manage the winery, Kate Solari Baker is a well-know pastel artists and maintains a studio in the hayloft of the historic Larkmead Barn.

Larkmead vineyard manager Nabor Camarena

Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2019 exhibits complexity, length, a celebration of dark fruits. This is an opulent, hedonistic pleasure pour. It is a superb Napa cab that is affordable—in Napa cab terms. Indulge yourself. Pair with well-marbled steak; short ribs and other braised dishes; slow-braised venison; lamb; portabello mushrooms. Cheese—aged cheddar; gouda; blue cheese gruyere. $110-130

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 tasting area