This girl next door is a perfect-10. Named ‘Vecina’ from the Spanish word for neighbor, and sourced from a site just southeast of the BOND winery, this blend is always powerful, intense and savory. Packed seamlessly with blackberry, black cherry and black-truffle, this is the kind of darkness we dream about getting lost in. Patient cellaring will be rewarded with an “incredible, insanely good Cabernet.” -Jeb Dunnuck
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.
Vecina vineyard is located in the western foothills of Oakville, just to the south-east of the winery (up on Oakville Grade). Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Vecina slips sensuously out of the glass with gorgeous black cherries, kirsch, wild blueberries and blackcurrant pastilles notes plus suggestions of bouquet garni, pencil lead, tilled earth and underbrush. Full-bodied, taut and packed with ripe, expressive, exquisitely accented black and blue fruits, it has loads of earthy sparks and a compelling fine-grained nature to the firm texture, finishing long and layered. This bright, energetic, incredibly nuanced beauty is built like a brick house and, while approachable in youth, is easily a 50-year wine. I therefore urge readers to wait at least 5-7 years before opening to allow for the myriad of subtle nuances to emerge and offer that "WOW" experience that will reward patience.
Blackberry, black-truffle, sliced-mushroom and dried-beef aromas. Full-bodied, broad shouldered and amazingly structured and layered. Dense, extremely long and intense. It’s seamless and goes on for minutes. Great wine. Give it time to give you even more. Better after 2022.
The 2016 Vecina got a few expletives in my notes, and it’s one of the more powerful, structured, inward wines in the lineup. From a site on the western side of the appellation (not far from Harlan Estate), its deep purple color is followed by stunning notes of crushed rocks, violets, chocolate, graphite, and cold steel. It’s an incredible, insanely good Cabernet that’s going to benefit from a decade of bottle age and keep for 30 years or more.