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2011 Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The Wine Advocate, Robert Parker

A surprisingly strong effort, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits hints of black olives and tapenade as well as copious notes of creme de cassis, licorice and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied and atypically concentrated for a 2011, this is another tour de force from Spottswoode that boasts beautiful fruit and a long finish. It should drink well for 8–12 years. Kudos to the Novak family! 90 points (October, 2013)

Vinous Media, Antonio Galloni

The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is just as beautiful as it has always been. Silky, perfumed and impeccably balanced, the 2011 is all about finesse. Sweet red cherries, plums, cloves and new leather all flow through to the expressive finish. Given the wine's mid-weight structure, it is best enjoyed over the next dozen of years or so. This is one of the unqualified successes of the year. Dollops of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc round out the blend. 94 points (December 2014)

International Wine Cellar, Steve Tanzer

(The 30th anniversary bottling for this wine.) Medium ruby. Captivating aromas of crystallized blackberry, boysenberry, dark chocolate, violet and minerals. Rather backward but substantial for the vintage, with brambly dark berry and mineral flavors accented by a note of olive. Already offers lovely inner-mouth perfume but the serious tongue-coating tannins call for some patience. The black cherry finish avoids greenness. This vintage included some additional cabernet franc and a petit verdot from acreage planted in 2006. 92 points (May/June, 2014) www.wineaccess.com/tanzer

JancisRobinson.com, Jancis Robinson

Glowing crimson. Very savoury and vibrant nose. Very serious and long term and dense. Just a bit chewy on the end. Sinewy. Rather reminiscent of Ch Haut-Brion. Released beginning of September 2014. A serious wine by any measure. About 3,500 cases made. Drink 2017–2032. 18.5/20 points (September 23, 2014)

JamesSuckling.com, James Suckling

A solid Spottswoode with mint, currants, berries and flowers. Sweet tobacco and rose petals. Full body with silky tannins and a long, long finish. Tangy, energetic and lively. A wine with form, tension and beauty. This is classic California. 89% cabernet sauvignon, 8% cabernet franc and 3% petit verdot. Better in 2016. 95 points (May 15, 2014)

Wine-Searcher.com, Blake Gray

We don’t always agree, but Robert Parker and I share a regard for this winery. He gave the 2010 vintage of this wine 100 points, writing: “I always think of Spottswoode as the Château Margaux of Napa.” He gave the 2011 90 points, calling it ‘a surprisingly strong effort.’ In 2034, the 100-pointer will be very expensive on the auction market. I'd like to do a taste-off then with this 2011 wine, which is in the style one expects from Napa: rich cherry fruit that just keeps on coming, with plush but not soft tannins that gain focus on the long finish. (September 24, 2014)

Wine Review Online, Linda Murphy

When it comes to buying 2011 Napa Cabs, trust the producer. The best make outstanding wines in the most difficult conditions, including 2011. They aren’t afraid to let vintage character show in their wines, and for them to be crisp and focused, in cool growing seasons, and put the speed governor on ripeness and alcohol in hot years. Take, for example, Spottswoode’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena Napa Valley ($150), made by Aron Weinkauf from grapes organically grown on its St. Helena estate (valley floor, not hillside). It has a deep, complex nose and palate, with luscious blackcurrant and black cherry fruit wrapped in bracing acidity and with sturdy tannins. It has brilliant freshness now, yet begs for five or more years of cellaring—if one can wait that long. (November 4, 2014)

The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Cervin

One of Napa’s premier under the radar producers, Spottswoode goes about quietly making first-rate wine. Their Cabernet opens with rich black cherry and a nose of oak and vanilla and a slight cocoa, but is rewarded with decanting time to reveal, cedar and ripe blueberry, roasted oak and the flavors smooth out with a mature ripe red fruit note, changing the complexity to a velvety, deep berry. (December 22, 2014)

The Tasting Panel, Anthony Dias Blue

Bright and juicy with graceful flavors of plum, cassis and spice; racy, structured and bracing. 94 points; Outstanding (December 2014)

The Daily Meal Holiday Gift Guide

Gabe wrote, “this is old-school Napa Valley estate cabernet sauvignon at its best … It’s known as one of the benchmark cabernets of Napa Valley and it deserves that reputation.”

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