The name means ‘many,’ and could easily be in reference to the multitude of perfect and near-perfect scores this wine earns, vintage after vintage. Powerful and structured, this unfurls slowly in the glass, exposing the depths of fruit within. Dark plum, roasted coffee, and cedar notes coil in a full-bodied, rock-solid frame of firm, ripe, grainy tannins. Phenomenal length and earthy layers finish this expression of “just about pure perfection in Napa Valley Cabernet.”
Bill Harlan’s standards have become legendary in Napa Valley. The vintner and businessman responsible for Harlan Estate, Meadowood Resort and the ambitious winemaking-with-the-stars club that is the Napa Valley Reserve doesn’t cut corners anywhere. Back in 1993 (first releases in ’97), utilizing the same group responsible for Harlan, Bill signed vineyard contracts on four superlative hillside properties to be farmed to the team’s specifications. While four single-vineyard Cabernets are bottled separately, blending decisions dictate that not every barrel from each property will be used… which is where Matriarch comes into play. It allows the immensely talented winemaker Bob Levy to use his blending expertise to highlight the best qualities of the vintage, rather than a specific vineyard expression. The fruit sources stretch from the eastern extremes of Rutherford’s border, west and south to the Mayacamas foothills of Oakville and due north to Spring Mountain. The common themes are hillside plantings, low yields and meticulous farming. It’s exactly what you’d expect from this group of dedicated perfectionists who continue to outdo themselves.
Pluribus vineyard is situated on Spring Mountain, producing a sometimes broody wine in its youth with tons of latent power and energy waiting to erupt. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Pluribus is a little closed and youthfully mute to begin, slowly unfurling to offer glimpses at baked plums, crushed blackcurrants, boysenberries and redcurrant jelly plus suggestions of charcoal, black olives, Sichuan pepper and bay leaves with a waft of pain grille. Full-bodied, it has a rock-solid frame of very firm, ripe, grainy tannins and bold freshness supporting the muscular black fruit and savory accents, finishing with phenomenal length and loads of earthy layers.
This is very powerful and foursquare, showing dark fruit, iodine and crushed stones. Ink, too. Full-bodied and dense with friendly, chewy character. Tight and focused. Bright and real. Drink in 2023.