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Best of the Best 2013: Domestic Red Wines: Cardinale 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

  • Brett Anderson

The winemaker Christopher Carpenter has numerous talents, not least of which is his ability to juggle multiple projects in the Napa Valley and in Australia. Carpenter divides his time between several wine estates owned by the vintner Barbara Banke, crafting single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon for Lokoya; small-production red wines from Howell Mountain for La Jota Vineyards; and superb Mount Veeder reds for Mt. Brave. In addition, he consults for Banke’s holdings in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia. Yet nowhere are his gifts more palpably present than in the winery at Cardinale estate, where he composes one of California’s most elegant reds. Cardinale 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (www.cardinale.com, $250) is an utterly silky composition of fruit from some of Napa’s most important mountain appellations. Its soft aromas of rose and lavender greet the nose, while saturated flavors of boysenberry, black coffee, dark chocolate, dried cherry, strawberry, and mint coat the palate.