2015 Larkmead 'Firebelle' Proprietary Red Napa Valley

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Lighter color, restrained fruit, and a savory finish are the hallmarks of this year’s Firebelle. Some of the characteristics of the warm vintage are apparent in this Merlot-dominant wine, such as the aromas of roasted meats and the flavors of ripe black and blue plums. But even so, we feel the wine is still reflective of the loam and clay soils in which its grapes were grown. Scents of plum skin greet the nose and are met again on the palate. The same is true of the cocoa and coffee that linger on the finish. These aromas are present, certainly, but remain somewhat compact; they need both air and time to unravel and truly come alive. This particular Firebelle is a complex wine that may appear reticent at first, but with time in the glass becomes supple and expressive. In the finish, youthful tannins blanket the mouth, crying out for food.

Cabernet Sauvignon
18 Months
Oak Treatment:
French Oak; 65% New
Napa Valley
Total Varietal Composition %:
71% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot
Alcohol %:
Score Wine Advocate:
Score Wine Enthusiast:
Score Wine Spectator:
SKU #:
750 ml Bottle

James Suckling

This merlot-based red is really exciting with dark berries, dark chocolate and bark. Full-bodied, dense and layered. So serious and exciting. Merlot is great here. Drink in 2020.


Wine Enthusiast

This blends 71% Merlot with 21% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Petit Verdot. Earthy, it evokes wild truffle and fresh compost, with highlighted flavors of dark plum and cherry. Its soft silky texture is inviting and a complement to the gritty backbone of tannins, which though in check, are plenty powerful.


Jeb Dunnuck

The Merlot-dominated cuvee of the estate is the 2015 Firebelle and it checks in as 71% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot that spent 18 months in 65% new French oak. It offers a terrific bouquet of black cherries, leafy herbs, lavender, and dried violets, medium to full body, loads of minerality, and a fresh, focused, beautifully balanced style. It’s ideal for drinking over the coming 15 years.


Wine Advocate

A blend of 71% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Petit Verdot, the 2015 Firebelle Proprietary Red opens with a deep garnet-purple color and baked plums, peppered salami and black forest cake-scented nose with dried herbs and tilled soil nuances. The medium to full-bodied palate is firm, chewy and muscular with earthy suggestions, just lacking a little expressiveness and depth at this stage.


Wine Spectator

This muscular red features dark fruit flavors that are backed by firm tannins and acidity. Savory notes show midpalate, with a finish of dark chocolate and mocha hints. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.