Cardinale is cult-royalty and their Cabernet Sauvignon needs no introduction. It’s always a brilliant ensemble of Napa Valley vineyards conspiring to build a perfect cabernet that respects their individual strengths while capturing the soul of the vintage. Lucky for us, 2018 was an outstanding vintage, and this promises to stand among the best.
Cardinale's Cabernet Sauvignon is unique in the valley because it is blended almost entirely from fruit from each mountain appellation: Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain, Howell Mountain, and Diamond Mountain. High above 1,500 feet in elevation, the grapevines struggle to ripen and form small, intensely flavored, thick-skinned berries. Master winemaker Chris Carpenter blends this wine each year expertly, optimizing the wine’s harmony of acidity, structure, alcohol, fruit, and soil elements, in a way that simply can’t be done in a single vineyard. This is the key to this wine’s greatness and uniqueness, and the kind of selectivity practiced in the Bordeaux first-growths.
Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, the 2018 Cardinale was aged in French oak barrels for 22 months, 81% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it prances out of the glass with gregarious notions of warm cassis, black cherries and wild blueberries, followed by emerging earth scents with a tobacco and garrigue undercurrent. Medium to full-bodied, gracefully styled and refreshing, the vibrant black and blue-fruited palate offers a wonderfully fine-grained texture and bags of energy, finishing long with a skip in its step. 5,107 cases were made.