It is hard to imagine with the Lithology range receiving 298 points out of 300 for the three single-vineyard wines, that there could possibly be a wine above them. But there is, and it is our Estate wine. Blended several times very intently by masters of their craft Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, this is the ultimate expression of our house’s work. Positive, full-bodied, and quite powerful, there’s the expected crème de cassis and blackberry from St. Helena Cabernets, with mineral, herb, subtle tobacco and vanilla, plum skins, and pie crust, purple flowers, forest-conifer notes, and very fine tannic structure. It is a magnificent, and magnificently elegant expression of this house, and when asked recently, Monsieur Rolland stated plainly to me, “oh yes indeed – this is the best one, the best yet…”
The flagship 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Alejandro Bulgheroni comes from a selection made by winemakers Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, mostly from Rutherford and Oakville fruit. Aged 20 months in 78% new French oak, it has incredible aromatics of black and blue fruits, spring flowers, and graphite to go with a massive, full-bodied, concentrated style on the palate that somehow stays graceful, weightless, and elegant. This tour de force in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is guaranteed to put a smile on your face over the coming 20-25+ years.
-Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points
Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Beckstoffer Las Piedras Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
From a St. Helena vineyard planted by early Napa settler Edward Bale more than 150 years ago, and later serving as the estate vineyard for the area’s first winery built by Henry Pellet in 1860, the Las Piedras site always gives us our prettiest wine. When placed next to Dr. Crane and To-Kalon wines, the Las Piedras show a certain elegance, with a very graceful entry and finely detailed complexity. We produce it with at least 75% new French oak, so there is a floral, spicy, and vanilla accent to the intense red and black fruits, cassis, and black cherry liqueur. What distinguishes this bottling is the beautifully fine tannins, delicate texture, and stunning purity. (Less than 100 cases made.)
Fermentation 70% Oak, 24% Concrete, 6% Puncheon
"The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lithology Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard comes from a world-class site outside of St. Helena and is all Cabernet that spent 20 months in 80% new oak. It offers a touch more red fruit as well ample cassis, spring flowers, loamy earth, and spice-like aromas and flavors. It has a wonderful sense of minerality, ultra-fine tannins, a dense, layered texture, and incredibly purity of fruit. It’s another just about off the charts release from this estate."
- Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
Avennia Sestina Red Blend is made from 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc
The Sestina is a poetic form from Medieval France. Just as a contemporary poet can use an old form like the Sestina to express modern ideas, we use the traditional Bordeaux blend to make modern wines that express Washington fruit. Sestina is our vision for an old vine blend where the focus is on structure, balance, and complexity. This wine is designed for the cellar, but is enjoyable now.
Sestina: This wine is a blockbuster, with black currant, black raspberry, saddle leather, freshly tilled earth, vanilla, and violet on the nose. Exceedingly rich and balanced on the palate, with great poise and structure for long aging. The finish echoes with fresh black fruits, minerally touches, and floral notes.
A blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Sestina comes from the Red Willow, Dionysus, and Bacchus vineyards and spent 20 months in 48% new French oak barrels. A beautiful, Saint-Julien-like bouquet of blackcurrants, cassis, violets, tobacco, and cedar gives way to a medium to full-bodied, concentrated, structured wine that builds incrementally on the palate, with ripe, velvety tannins, a stunning mid-palate, and a blockbuster of a finish. It's beautifully done, and while it drinks well today given its balance, purity, and texture, it's going to develop additional complexity with 3-5 years of bottle age and will have 20-25 years of overall longevity.
Jeb Dunnuck 96+ Points
Betz Family Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot
"This is a wine for the ages. Aromas of thyme, the blackest of cherries, licorice, bay leaf and spice are followed by outright delicious, plump fruit flavors. There's a whole lot of primary fruit, with ample structure to hang it all on, along with plenty of depth and intensity. The finish is near endless. It flat-out impresses, with remarkable intensity. Best from 2028 to 2038. - SEAN P. SULLIVAN."
- Wine Enthusiast (September 2021), 95 pts
"A firm, polished red with aromas of blackberry, iodine, tobacco leaf, cocoa and cedar. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm, chewy tannins. Structured, layered and focused. Lots going on, with a long finish. Try from 2023."
- James Suckling (May 2021), 95 pts
"Incorporating 10% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot from a mix of sites in the Columbia Valley, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Père De Famille reveals a healthy ruby/purple hue to go with beautiful cassis fruits interwoven with notions of dried rose petals, violets, cedary spice, and chalky minerality. Medium to full-bodied, reasonably well concentrated, yet elegant and beautifully balanced, it opens up nicely with time in the glass and will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for 20 years."
- Jeb Dunnuck (May 2021), 95 pts
Blind Justice Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Cabernet Franc.
Blind Justice is a pure expression of Napa Cabernet exclusively from Beckstoffer’s ‘To-Kalon’ vineyard. The true heart of the famed Oakville appellation, this vineyard highlights the decadent essence of Napa Cabernet to perfection, with vines rooted in loamy alluvial soil that adds depth, nuance, and structure. An absolute stunner, and the flagship of the Justice offerings, this is the wine that epitomizes the adventurous and pioneering soul of the Napa Valley.
Baking spices like clove and cocoa jump out of the glass and are then met with aromas of ripe black cherry and vanilla. The cherry shows up again on the palate along with other dark red and purple fruits. This wine lingers for days with a rich core and luscious mouthfeel.
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Blind Justice Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard is straight-up terrific. Based on 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Cabernet Franc from a handful of blocks in this great site in Oakville, aged 20 months in 78% new oak, it has a beautiful cassis, wildflower, and sappy herb-driven bouquet as well as a rich yet seamless style on the palate. This full-bodied beauty pairs richness and elegance perfectly, has ripe tannins, terrific balance, and is going to evolve for two decades.
-Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
Dunn Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet.
This Napa Valley wine is a blend of their Howell Mountain fruit and a small quantity of valley floor fruit that they purchase. This valley floor fruit contributes to the wine’s earlier approachability and softer tannic structure.
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is a gorgeous wine, especially for Dunn fans who want a wine to drink that won't take forever to come around. Dark and savory, with terrific depth, the 2018 is full of character. Black cherry, lavender, chocolate, sage, mint and cloves all open in the glass. The 2018 has just enough grip to have a good amount of classic structure, but not to the point of being forbidding. The Napa Cabernet is about 55% Howell Mountain and 45% Coombsville fruit. The 2018 is beautifully done and an absolute delight.”
-Vinous 94 Points
Dunn's 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon shows terrific purity and focus in its aromas of cassis and pencil shavings and on the medium to full-bodied palate, where it's streamlined and smooth. There's intensity and concentration, but they sort of slide past almost unnoticed, lubricated by fine-grained tannins and lingering notes of cassis and graphite on the finish.
-Wine Advocate 94 Points
Mollydooker Enchanted Path Shiraz - Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 71% Shiraz (the same juice that goes into Carnival of Love) and 29% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2018 Enchanted Path displays an inky deep color with dense hues. The journey begins with fragrant bright red fruit on the nose, followed by deeper tones of blackberry and plum jam on the palate. Well guided by precise tannins, these flavors will fully entertain your senses, giving the wine phenomenal length. The captivating interplay between the Shiraz and Cabernet provides a sophisticated mix of plum and mocha, walking beside raspberry and clove. The 2018 Enchanted Path exercises both elegance and complexity with a well-balanced finish.
A blend of 71% Shiraz (the same juice that goes into Carnival of Love) and 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2018 Enchanted Path features slightly lifted floral and herbal aromatics and hints of cassis on the nose, while the flavors on the palate are slightly brighter and redder. It's full-bodied, richly textured and intense, with ample extract, plenty of oak and well-ripened tannins, all of which lead to a finish that's long and slightly drying at the moment. Give it another year or two in the cellar, and it should drink well for at least the next 5-6 years after that.
-Wine Advocate 93 Points
Our winery is in beautiful scenic McLaren Vale, 30 minutes easy drive from Adelaide. Bordered by the Adelaide Hills and five minutes away from glorious beaches, McLaren Vale is a great place to come visit. It is like a big village, we all know one another, and we all love having visitors. The food here is fabulous, fresh and local, and we have a thriving artistic community.
‘The region is so effortless in the fun-loving lifestyle it exudes, that I always feel a little guilty visiting the area for ‘work’. Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate.
Our vineyards are situated on the magical Seaview Ridge, which with its ancient soils and Mediterranean climate, is home to some of the most iconic Australian wines. We have three separate vineyards – Long Gully Road, Coppermine Road and the Home Blocks, giving us a total of 114 acres of Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot. All of our grapes are grown sustainably.
We aim to make 80,000 dozen cases of wine each vintage. The tank farm, barrel hall and crushing area are our cellar team’s pride and joy. We’ve got a 1500 tonne crushing capacity, but we only crush just over 1200 tonnes so that the team has plenty of time to mollycoddle the wines, and to keep the winery spick and span.
Sarah and the winemaking team taste each separate batch of wine to gauge when enough oak influence is achieved. From here, we begin the blending process, sampling and blending each batch to create the finished Mollydooker wine. Once complete, the wines are chilled to 5 °C to force the sediment out of the wines in tank. By this time harvest and vintage is just around the corner… and we begin the process again for the new vintage wines.
Torbreck Runrig Shiraz - Viognier is made from 98% Shiraz, 2% Viognier.
RunRig often draws comparison with the beautifully fragrant and tautly structured wines from the steep slopes of the Northern Rhône Valley’s Appellation of Côte Rôtie. Shiraz from old dry grown Barossa vineyards is blended with Viognier, complementing the strengths and complexities of these individual parcels of fruit, whilst giving the resulting wine a further dimension.
The Highland clans used a ‘RunRig’ system to distribute land amongst their clansmen in a series of widely dispersed holdings. The emphasis was not on any one farm but rather the communal element of the whole. Shiraz from old dry grown vineyards is blended with Viognier, complementing the strengths and complexities of these individual parcels of fruit, whilst giving the resulting wine a further dimension.
VINTAGE An above average winter rainfall led into a below average spring and summer rainfall, producing small bunches and small berries, leading to a reduced yield. Quality was certainly high, particular amongst our red varieties of Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro. 2018 wines will be remembered for their impressive colour, structure and longevity.
TASTING Complex and lifted aromatics of dense black fruits such as blackberries, satsuma plum and black cherry complimented with dark chocolate, cacao been and liquorice. The opulent mouthfeel, liveliness, and vibrancy is a real standout on a plush and velvety textured palate structure. The complex layers and fruit characters continue to evolve in the glass with firm but drying tannins seamlessly balanced with long acid and statuesque posture and length..
Torbreck's 2018 RunRig needs a bit of air right now, as the nose and palate truly open up and expand after a while in the glass. Unlike some vintages, it's rather tight and cedary upon first pour, then relaxes to reveal hints of stone fruit, blueberries, cherries, pastry crust and baking spices. In the mouth, it's full-bodied and concentrated, richly textured and marked by ripe tannins, which leave behind a velvety, mouth-coating finish tinged with licorice and dark berries. While approachable now—and even damn enjoyable—it deserves another several years in the cellar. Drink the 2018 Descendant while waiting.
-Wine Advocate 99 Points
In the 27 years since its founding in 1994, Torbreck has become one of the icons of Australian wine, championing the old-vine treasures of the Barossa. This year's releases include stunning versions of the winery's top cuvées: The Laird, Les Amis and RunRig. All three rate 97 points or better, with the 2018 RunRig being this taster's personal favorite for its superb balance. Not far behind is the 2018 Descendant, which sells for a fraction of the price and is more approachable as well. That's the one that shrewd wine drinkers will seek out. Fortunately for those of us with skinnier wallets, even Torbreck's other bottlings are excellent, with special mention going to the 2018 Hillside Vineyard Grenache, from vines planted in 1949, and the 2018 The Gask, from Eden Valley vines planted in 1960. Even the entry-level Woodcutter's line is solid, with the 2020 Rosé, 2020 Semillon and 2019 Shiraz all scoring 88-90 points. In short, for consumers seeking bold, flavorful wines that reflect their origins, Torbreck is among Australia's top producers
- Wine Advocate Joe Czerwinski
Rubus Old Vine Shiraz Barossa Valley is a blend of 98% Shiraz & 2% Viognier, this richly concentrated Barossa Shiraz is indicative of the style for which Australia's top production region is famous. The wine is dark in color, rich and dense. There are ample tannins balanced by the powerful fruit. You will note the hints of blackberries, mint, and eucalyptus flavors upfront and in the finish. Try Rubus Barossa Shiraz with rich dishes like lamb shank, Osso bucco, beef steak or roast duck.
"Blackberry, currant and blueberry flavors are dense, intense and powerful, mingling with black licorice, sage and spice notes, with a brambly undertone. A spicy hint lingers on the finish. Drink now through 2030. 1,200 cases made. - MaryAnn Worobiec"
- Wine Spectator (November 15th 2018), 90 pts
Pago de Carraovejas Ribera Del Duero is made from 90% Tempranillo, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot
The Pago de Carraovejas Ribera del Duero vintage marks a turning point in the history of the winery. From now on, the Crianza and Reserva are unified in this wine that focuses on the terroir and character rather than the time of aging. Its renewed label reflects the three key elements of this red: origin, soul and emotion.
Pago de Carraovejas Ribera Del Duero is made with grapes grown in the Botijas River valley, and planted between 1988 and 2011. Our work over the last 30 years has been geared to handcrafted viniculture, that puts as much care as possible into the microclimate conditions and the details. We have placed particular attention on the maintenance of the soil by plant cover that already grows spontaneously. It allows us to develop the ecosystem of the valley, which we respect scrupulously, using organic fertilizer and sulfur as the sole basis of our viticulture.
Depending on which plot they come from and the time they enter the winery, the grapes may be deposited in cold chambers to prevent oxidation and preserve the aroma. We carry out a two-part selection: first on the vine, where we choose the bunches, and then on a belt in the winery, where we remove the grapes that do meet the necessary conditions. The grapes enter the winery and are transported with the assistance of gravity. The deposits are filled slowly and gently. Depending on the characteristics that we detected when tasting the grapes, we ferment them either in stainless steel deposits or French oak barrels. For years we have worked with our own yeast that has been isolated from the vines by our team. This work is also partly responsible for the Carraovejas character.
The wine was aged in barrels for around twelve months.
"A thrilling blend of 93% Tempranillo, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Merlot aged 12 months in French and American oak and an additional 12 months in bottle. Fragrant from start to finish, it delivers notes of violets, purple plum, and sandalwood and a magnificent mouthfeel defined by the tension between slate-driven tannins and juicy, succulent fruit. Dark chocolate and earth strike a pose and linger for an extended time"
- The Tasting Panel (May/June 2022), 96 pts
Arzuaga Ribera del Duero Reserva is made from 95% Tempranillo, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Merlot.
Clean and bright ruby red with purple reflections. Great aromatic intensity, complex and elegant, where the compote of red fruits dominates. The palate is structured with silky, sweet tannins and a lingering finish.
The harvest was done manually at the optimum point of maturity, and carried out separately for each of the more than 20 different plots used to make this wine. After the selection tables, a pre-fermentation maceration at low temperature and subsequent alcoholic fermentation at 28º is carried out, giving way to malolactic fermentation and aging in new French oak barrels for 26 months.
Ideal with red meats (big game), roasted white meat, and blue cheese.
An energetic wine with a charming nose of spice, black fruits and black pepper. On the palate, it is ripe and concentrated, with Cabernet-led leafy blackcurrant flavours, underpinned by fresh acidity and supported by mineral, fine-grained, very elegant tannins. Classy and characterful with a really long, immensely impressive, finish.
-Decanter 97 Points
Mt Brave Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot, 1.5% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec.
Lots of cassis and black raspberry fruits as well as classic Mount Veeder notes of lavender, violets, bouquet garni, and rocky, mineral-like notes emerge from the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon. A deep, full-bodied mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, it has a plush, layered texture, beautiful tannins, a deep, concentrated mid-palate, and a great finish. Another head-turning wine from this label, it’s a candidate for the best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon out there at the price point.
-Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mt. Brave is fabulous. Inky, rich and explosive, the 2018 possesses tremendous depth and tons of personality. Graphite, blue/purplish fruit, blackberry jam, bittersweet chocolate, sage, lavender, menthol give the 2018 tons of character to match its explosive feel. The brooding, backward wine is going to need quite a bit of time to unwind, but boy is it gorgeous.
-Vinous 97 Points
Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Russian River Valley is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Crafted with precision from six pedigreed sites comes a wine that beams with pale straw hue. The newest vintage brings wonderful aromatic intensity: candied lemon peel, white florals followed by crisp green apple. A creamy and viscous texture on the palate is buoyed by white nectarine and dried apricot that’s balanced with a vibrant acidity, bringing focus to the wine’s finish that lingers with hints of flinty mineral notes.