From the Robb Cellar: Vineyard 29 2009 29 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

    Few properties in California’s Napa Valley boast as impressive a succession of winemaking alumni as Vineyard 29, which Teresa Norton and Tom Paine established in 1989 on 3 acres located just northwest of St. Helena. The couple had the good fortune to retain vineyard manager par excellence David Abreu to care for their investment; in 1992 they released their first vintage, which was produced at the Grace Family winery by Gary Galleron, who has also made wines for Chateau Montelena, Hartwell, and Seavey, among others. Heidi Barrett succeeded Galleron as winemaker in 1995, and in 1999, Philippe Melka began crafting the wines, as he continues to do under current owners Anne and Chuck McMinn. The Vineyard 29 2009 29 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is one of Melka’s finest renderings to date. Smooth, dark, and dense as melted chocolate, it exudes aromas of cocoa, violet, licorice, and sweet tobacco, while on the palate, flavors of black cassis, peppercorn, and savory black olive emerge. ($225) www.vineyard29.com

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