Dark dark golden ruby right out to an abrupt edge of barely-brick. Creamy minty goodness, bedded in sassafras, natal plum and a teensy barnyard, an almost-honeysuckle high note to the entire nose plays nicely against developing scorched leather and cigar box–sweet-tea and honeyed vanilla softening the tarry briar and petrichor.
What did you THINK I was gonna open tonight? All week in Northern Italy drinking non-stop their bright, fruity, ridiculously acidic, no-oak, cool-climate and Alpine-inspired reds and gorgeous Corvina rosés–and next week in Italy again–I have TWO NIGHTS to open something else, and of course it’s going to be a big, lush Napa Cab to… um… *cleanse* the palate. But wait. As my hands inappropriately fondled all the Napa bottles against their will, Sonoma called out loudly–and won the toss. Marlstone has been one of my absolute favorite Sonoma bordeaux blends for decades, and while the price *has* crept up a bit, at around $50+ it is still a bargain.
In the mouth, a freight-train of black cherry, blackberry, licorice and coffee liqueur hit your tongue, which immediately recoils from the sledgehammer of acid following shortly behind. But the fruit’s not done, oh no. The center is awash in thick bramble, bitter dark cherry, dried cranberry and never really dissipates for the rest of the miles-long finish. A polished uplift of the structure raises at the end, barely nicking the structure–WAIT, WHERE ARE THE TANNINS. Oh boy, they are there, but oh god, oh god, oh god how supremely perfect they do *that thing* with the dense fruit. You know–THAT thing.
Green and intense but never hot; Swelteringly dry but never harsh; Diabetically delicious fruit; And… headed into 10 with another decade to go EASY, this diamond just gets better.
2010 CLOS DU BOIS ‘Marlstone’ Cab/ME/Bec/PV 74/15/7/4 Alexander Valley Sonoma 14.5