Castlebank Vineyards Napa Valley Red Wine 2012
By Jonathan H. Newman*
Castlebank 2012 Napa Valley Red Wine
UNIT SIZE: 750.00 ml
VARIETAL: Red Blend
GRAPE: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot
COUNTRY: United States
REGION: Napa Valley
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 15.00%
Based on the outstanding Quality-Price-Ratio, this wine probably deserves an even higher rating because of the price and the incredible taste profile and pedigree. There is much to like about this wine as its from three of the top AVAs in Napa Valley - Howell Mountain, Oakville and St. Helena and it’s a big, bold and delicious wine. 2012 was also a very special vintage in Napa Valley and came as welcome relief after the tricky previous vintage. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec is big and zesty and is both accessible now and will continue to shine for years to come. It’s a plush wine that is mouth watering with loads of fruit. One whiff and its hard to put down the glass as it portends the splendid palate of dark fruit including blackberry, currants, dark raspberries and dark chocolate with touches of coffee, blueberry liqueur and black cherry with toasty, sweet vanilla oak. Pair with blackened steaks, mustard crusted lamb chops, savory chicken dishes with dumplings, barbequed baby back ribs or pulled pork sandwiches. Best enjoyed now through 2019.
By Castlebank Vineyards
Napa Valley Red 2012
Vintage & Vineyards
The 2012 vintage began with textbook conditions that continued through much of Harvest. Spring bud break was ideal with steady flowering and even fruit set. A lengthy stretch of warm days and cool nights during the summer months allowed for optimal ripeness to develop in the grapes and an exceptional quality overall. The majority of this wine was made from grapes grown on a relatively cool St. Helena vineyard which produces juice of exceptional character and quality. The winemaker also chose lots from several other vineyards, including Oakville and a reserve vineyard in the Howell Mountain AVA. The grapes for the 2012 Napa Valley Red blend were harvested between October 4th and 6th.
Kept in separate small lots until the final blending, the grapes were picked, quickly brought to the winery and placed in small stainless steel tanks for a 2-day cold soak designed to extract color and flavor from the grapes. The juice was then fermented dry and the young wine was placed in small French oak barrels
(29% new) for 18 months.
The 2012 Red blend has lush blue fruit and a sweet oak entry full of cassis notes. Fine tannins and notes of black raspberry and boysenberry make this immediately approachable and charming.
[Information provided by J.H.N.]
By Wine Spectator
Vintage Report 2012: Napa Valley
The Good News: An ideal season - no frosts, a mild spring and summer and a tranquil fall.
The Bad News: The biggest challenge was finding space for all the grapes.
Picking Started: Aug. 6 for sparkling wine; Sept. 10 for still wine
Promising grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon shined brightest, but everything prospered, from Merlot to Zinfandel to Chardonnay.
Winemakers in Napa Valley were not only elated by the quality and quantity of the 2012 harvest, but a few see a level of excellence that supersedes past vintages, going back decades. “2012 will be a new high-water mark for Napa and California," said Chuck Wagner of Caymus, who celebrated his 40th harvest in Rutherford. “I'd say that it is likely that many vintners have made their best wines ever.” Celia Welch of Corra echoed that sentiment. “The vines appeared so beautifully balanced that even some veteran growers were fooled by the size of the crop load. If the vintage presented a challenge, it was one of logistics,” she said, as in, “where can we put all of the fruit above and beyond what we had planned for?”
No growing season is easy, but 2012 presented few challenges. A mild spring led to a good fruit set. Summer and fall brought warm temperatures, but no heat waves. All the fruit enjoyed a long, slow ripening. Early indications are that Cabernets will be dark, rich and ageworthy, inviting comparisons with 2001, 2002 and 2007. “The saturation of color is amazing; the wines are almost black,” said Jeff Ames of Rudius and Tor. “The Bordeaux varieties are all heavy with tannins but it is sweet tannins and not drying at all."
“Skins appeared to be pretty thick so I'm guessing it will be a high-structure year even with the bigger crop,” said Thomas Brown, owner of Rivers Marie and winemaker for a dozen wineries, including Outpost and Schrader. "The one thing we know for sure is there will be plenty of wine for everyone-a really nice change after the last two years.”
*Jonathan Newman was Wine Enthusiasts’ Man of the Year. He also was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and received national recognition in Marvin Shanken’s Market Watch Magazine and many other international wine publications. He was also awarded the Guild of Sommeliers highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Newman's reviews have been published and quoted extensively online and in print. He travels extensively to many of the major wine growing regions and evaluates many of the wines we source from smaller and boutique wineries. We interact closely with him and the result is his rejection rate of over 96% of the wines evaluated.