A wine by which all other wines will be judged, BOND pulls perfection out of its hat once again. This voluptuous beauty definitely deserves a second (and third) glance as her depth of character reveals itself slowly on a journey meant to be savored. Full-bodied and powerful at the outset, it settles into silken elegance, coursing to a heart-stopping crescendo with acidity, flavor and texture all impeccably balanced. Only a few bottles left so move fast and grab them now!
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.
Another perfect wine in the lineup is the 2016 St. Eden, which comes from a hillside of red volcanic soils just outside of Oakville. As with the 2015, wine doesn’t get any better, and this inky hued 2016 offers up a smorgasbord of crème de cassis, blackberries, crushed rocks, toasty oak, new leather, and tobacco. Deep, full-bodied, powerful yet also incredibly elegant, it offers pleasure even today yet will benefit from 4-6 years of bottle age and cruise for 30 years or more.
Blackberry, black-cherry and floral aromas just pop out. Transparent and vivid. Dusty undertones. Full-bodied, layered and chewy with powerful density and richness. Extremely long and flavorful. Great structure. Needs three or four years to demonstrate its full potential.
The 2016 St. Eden is a real powerhouse. In so many vintages St. Eden is a showy, voluptuous wine, but the 2016 is decidedly closed down. There is very clearly tremendous depth and intensity in the glass, along with a good bit of sensuality that starts to appear with a bit of air. The 2016 is vivid and classy, qualities that will become even more apparent over time. Today, though, the 2016 is mostly a wine of potential, and it has tons of that. Of all of the Bond 2016s, the St. Eden appears to be the most affected by bottling.
The 2016 St. Eden has a deep garnet-purple color and gives up vivacious notes of crushed blackberries, warm plums and cassis plus hints of dried leaves, forest floor, tapenade and truffles with a touch of unsmoked cigars. Medium to full-bodied, the palate features taut, muscular black and blue fruits, framed by firm, ripe tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long with loads of savory sparks.