This wine is a compellation of stellar growing sites incorporating the best mountaintop fruit from Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain and Diamond Mountain with some parcels from the valley floor. In reality, it is a blend from 11 vineyards and 32 individual wine lots. My feeling is that Cardinale gives winemaker Chris Carpenter a free hand in crafting the finest blend using grapes from noteworthy vineyards, without being restricted to one location.
While the initial impression might be that this is a powerhouse wine, the true identity is built around finesse, elegance and purity of flavor. The deeply opaque hue draws you closer with a bouquet of lavender and English roses. The macerated, ripe black fruits are interwoven with cinnamon, chocolate shavings, sweet oak, baking spices and graphite. Everything is streamlined and nicely put together, reminiscent of a masterful piece of art by Van Gogh. There is a silkiness and balance throughout that keeps you focused on the core. It effortlessly carries you through to a caressing finish that lasts for minutes in the back of the mouth. Although well-balanced and delicious now, it definitely will stand the test of time in the cellar.
By W Peter Hoyne