God, what a heavenly wine. Absolute perfection in SOOOO many ways. Of course, it’s my favorite 2011 vintage… but from Sonoma, so…. Dirty, gritty nose, so mired in minty peat and loam. Licorice and leather, brutal–both: across the board. A denizen of fire and spirit launched from below and surfacing in the nose toward angelic proportions. Black raspberry and pie cherry playing notes alongside the savory spit and angst–everything coming up pitch-perfect and begging you to taste it.

And then you do. A shocking streak of acidity punctuates alongside the gorgeous fruit. Everything is in balance and the blend plays hardcore parts in it. Even without Petite Verdot, a peppery blackness pervades, owing to the dense structure of Alexander Valley cab and the tiny Malbec. A blend of Teutonic measures, lithe and writhing, the chalky substance causing mouth-wiping measures to be taken while still under the influence of slowly gathering tertiary.

This producer–albeit one who has thinned itself with waist-high supermarket offerings–manages some ridiculous sort of beauty with this flagship meritage, something we have loved for decades and continues to please. Alexander Valley at it’s FINEST. And at the price, you can’t go wrong in putting it up against the finest of Napa Valley.

2011 CLOS DU BOIS ‘Marelstone’ Cab/ME/Bec/CF 82/11/6/1 Alexander Valley Sonoma Co. 14.5

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