PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Blocks I and J, McWilliams Oakville Vineyard, Napa Valley, 2013
Why is it that we don’t find many wines that we would rate perfect? Because the journey from bud break to harvest and harvest to release is complicated with all kinds of decisions — some that must follow a scientific path and so many that are the judgments of an artist at work in both the vineyard and winery. Let’s explore a wine that we would rate at 100 points. If you get to taste one, you will be most fortunate.
This PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon opened with an explosion of aromas presented in perfect harmony. There was no indication that one element was out of balance with the other volatile elements. This is seldom achieved. At the same time, the harmony of flavors did not destroy an unmistakable example of Californian Cabernet Sauvignon — truly varietal.
Inspection of the color, clarity, and brilliance of the wine revealed a deeply opaque core and a brilliant, ruby rim with no indications of any visible issues that would immediately downgrade it. Of course, no Brett, VA, or other defects were detectable. Very intense aromas of black currant, blackberry, and blueberry on a backdrop of vanilla, licorice and spice in a perfect marriage of flavors jumped to greet me. It was truly impressive.
The taste was where the wine began to distinguish itself and claim its right to an expression of perfection. It’s attack on the palate was as soft as the feeling of falling into a feather pillow. The wine’s full luxuriant body was dense, rich, and layered with fruit. Each wine should announce its character and this one did as it coated the palate, refusing to fade, making the gustatory feeling one to remember. Fixed and volatile elements were in good balance. And then on the finish, once again it clothed the back palate with a coating of sheer pleasure that was, oh, so fulfilling. This rich character was also cleansing in its own way and smooth as silk.
Could I find just one indiscretion, one hint of a fault or suggestion it could be better? No, not really. But the absence of a fault does not make a great wine. It was what it was, what it offered; it was so much fuller and complete than your expectations could imagine. That was its greatness. At last, those tannins — unmistakeable, but fine and delicate in texture and already fully integrated — added their forecast of years ahead. There was no way I could disagree with Robert Parker’s evaluation.
Rating 100 points
Emotional rating: Wine heaven
Available — Sold out.