Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Vineyards Vineyard X Oakville
Now we're getting into the serious Cabernet Sauvignons.
Merryvale is one of my favorite California wineries, based on its consistently good quality, well-valued Starmont line. Because their “entry level” bottlings are enjoyable, it would stand to reason that their high-end wines would be even better. Merryvale's Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Vineyards “Vineyard X” Oakville proves the point.
It's called “Beckstoffer” because the grapes come from Andy Beckstoffer's vineyards on the “Oakville Bench” in Napa Valley — this collaboration has been going on since 1992, and this particular wine has only been made five times. Only 1500 cases were made, with the grapes coming from three different “blocks” of vineyard (these are parts of a vineyard that have been specifically identified and cared for, for one reason or another; in short, it means the vines are of high quality, in a fantastic location, and old). After fermentation, the wine spent 18 months in French oak barrels (66% of them new) and was bottled unfiltered.
The nose has typical Cabernet aromas – black fruits, leather, earth, tar, black pepper – as well as a good dose of black licorice and some spice. In the mouth it is full, fruit-forward, and borderline jammy. Flavors are complex and delicious, showing black raspberry, black currant, cassis, blueberry, boysenberry, earth, coffee, tar, tobacco, pepper, and slight twinges of spice and a vegetal component. Texture is smooth, almost creamy. Acidity is at a good level for food and a fine foil for the big fruit. Tannins are ripe, and of medium intensity. This wine was a bit softer than I expected; I was expecting a huge, bold, tannic monster. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find this very drinkable, and immensely enjoyable. A tasty, polished, classy wine that is best enjoyed with a cheese plate, steaks, beef roasts, beef stew – anything with beef, in fact. At around 75 bucks, this ain't cheap … but if you can afford it, it's worth the dough.
a-9 t-10 b-9 fc-8 v-7 ~ 93 Points