BLAST FROM THE PAST and checking their website now shows only Calcaire and Marlstone for sale–Flintwood and Briarcrest have disappeared and EVERYTHING else is ‘California’. So sad. And when I walked into a store and saw these babies sittin there, I would have paid almost anything for them. Even sad to even open one, but hey: I go out so you can stay in. As has classically been the case, this does NOT feel anything like Marlstone: something I have praised the plushness and elegance of for decades. This wine has always been rip-roarin Alexander Valley through-and-through, un-apologetic and powerful.
Absolutely totally IMPENETRABLE in even the shallowest pours, and that’s something actually a little disappointing to me. I don’t need stand-a-fork-up-in-it concentration in my cab–quite the contrary. But Paso and Napa have spoken, and here we are. A thin rim of ruby gilds the edge. Black olive, tar and cherry pack the nose, Maytag blue and Irish cheddar, blood sausage, menthol and rock road. A gorgeous briary taint on the fruit sparks both elegance and playfulness, but seriousness wins out by a hand. A total infant.
Nearly scared to taste it, expecting something to descend from heaven or something. These wines were so hard to find when the winery EXISTED, and now feel almost sacred. As those familiar will anticipate, structure takes no time introducing itself. It’s been decanting for an hour, but no amount of air is gonna spread these legs. Trying to be objective and not too visceral about the whole thing, but damn is it a mouthful. Layers of angry ire unfold themselves between walls of tannin. The fruit sharp and biting, perfectly textured with redwood mint and red dust, the core delirious in chalky velvet and the wings heady with berry and oak. A 40-year wine. Sad to see it go.
2013 CLOS DU BOIS ‘Briarcrest’ Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Sonoma 14.5