WA97 Medium to deep garnet-colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Solari (Black Label) (made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon) bursts from the glass with vibrant black and red cherry preserves, dark chocolate, crushed black currants and warm plums scents plus hints of spearmint, roses, underbrush, truffles and bay leaves. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers a fantastic intensity of black fruit and savory layers, supported with a frame of wonderfully ripe, fine-grained tannins and great freshness, finishing long and minerally.
JS97 This is a big and juicy red with dark berries, tobacco and hazelnuts. Iron too. Full body and layered, chewy tannins. Balsamic lilt to the red fruit on the palate. Ripe and beautiful. Brick and terracota character to the ripe fruit. Tar too. Needs time to soften. Try after 2023.
JD96 Another deep, powerful wine, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Solari (100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 21 months in 72% new French oak) reveals a ruby/purple-hued color as well as ample black, black fruits, charcoal, graphite, and tobacco-laced aromas and flavors. While it’s still in the firm, austere style of all these 2016s, this cuvée is one of the more rounded, supple, and textured, and is certainly the most drinkable today. Nevertheless, it needs at a minimum 7-8 years of cellaring to start to approach its window of prime drinking and will keep for decades.
Larkmead Vineyards dates back to the late 1800s, is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2020, and has been owned by the SolarI/Baker family since 1948. The historic Larkmead Estate is composed of 150 acres contiguous to the winery with 110 planted to Bordeaux varieties.
The true character of Larkmead and its unique wines are a direct result of the topography, climate, and the exceptional geology of the soils. Larkmead manages the dramatic variation in soil types In order to maximize fruit and subsequent wine quality, which creates a diversified flavor profile. Larkmead is 100% Estate fruit; it is therefore imperative that the land is treated as an ecosystem with all factors interrelated and focus on long term soil health.
Larkmead is always seeking environmentally sound, long term solutions that promote the natural expression of their vineyards, resulting in wine that is unique in its purity, texture, and complexity.
Larkmead’s vineyard is bordered by Selby Creek and the Napa River at the conjunction point of two colluvial fans that extend from the Mayacamas and the Vaca mountain ranges. The main difference between this site and others bordering Napa waterways is that most of the finer material has been “washed out” and carried down the valley. The result is that nearly 300 feet of ancient riverbed gravel lies directly beneath the topsoil. This well-draining environment provides the valley floor location of Larkmead with a rare character typically found in hillside vineyards.
The winemaker is Dan Petroski: The San Francisco Chronicle’s 2017 Winemaker of the Year, owns his own brand (Massican) and is part of Band of Vintners.