It is not inconceivable that as the 2013 vintage finds its way into glasses in the coming years, that it will be regarded as one of the all-time greatest vintages ever for Napa Valley. The wines throughout the region, particularly the reds, and particularly the Cabernet-based reds... are just truly that special. The weather during the growing season was nothing short of ideal- as though we dialed it in to order from the universe itself. A second consecutive drought year with perfect, consistent temperatures and a beautiful Indian summer translated to an early harvest, and allowed us to pick in early October at peak flavor and maturity levels, with full phenolic and acid development.
The 2013 Black Sears Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a racy, viscerally thrilling wine of the highest order. Interestingly, despite the second year of drought conditions, and a massive crop in 2012, Cabernet yields in '13 were right at average. But the fruit quality was unreal, with larger-than-normal clusters comprised of much smaller-than-normal berries. (And at 2400 feet, the highest vineyard on Howell Mountain where berries are already as tiny as they come, that is saying something!) The result of which is a giant skin-to-juice ratio and thus incredible structure and tannin. The 2013 Black Sears boasts deep, inky, color and a cornucopia of intense blue/purple/black fruit along with the minerality and exotic citrus and spice overtones that Howell Mountain and the Black Sears Estate have come to be known for. This is a wine that delicately straddles the fine line between power and grace, with a nose that eagerly leaps from the glass; a rich, leathery midpalate loaded with fruit and sublte notes of tobacco and anise; dense, ripe, muscular tannins; and a bright, fresh finish that seems to last for weeks. As special as we all agreed the 2012 vintage was, the Cabernet is just bigger and more concentrated in '13 than in '12. This is a true California-style vintage with abundant richness and density. But it's the tension between the fruit, the structure, and the acidity that adds an impressive freshness and brightness to its complexity and power. And then there seems to be some Mystery component there too... something akin to spirit, or light, or electricity... whatever you want to call it... Something that escapes us in terms of description, but that is unmistakeable in its profound beauty.