In 1983, Jess Jackson decided to produce a world-class red Meritage wine. The name comes from the original Cardinale vineyard site at Kendall-Jackson's Lakeport winery. The wine is made predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon blended with small amounts of Merlot and, in certain years, Cabernet Franc. Grapes are harvested from hillside vineyards located in both Napa Valley and Sonoma County. The wine is aged in 100% new French oak Chateau barrels to produce a forward, seamless oak character to match its intense fruit. Winemaker Chris Carpenter is equally an expert at grape growing as he is at making wine, Christopher vinifies grapes from more than a dozen vineyards throughout Napa Valley, and through arduous blending, creates a wine that demonstrates the personality of each vintage, and whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Jeb Dunnuck scored this 97 points and said "The 2015 Cardinale is heavenly juice made from 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot that’s from a number of AVAs in Napa Valley. It offers a beautiful perfume of crème de cassis, black raspberry jam, graphite, and scorched earth. This gives way to a full-bodied, elegant, impressively concentrated 2015 that has the deep, concentrated fruit of the vintage, yet stays fresh, lively and graceful on the palate. This is high-class stuff that can be drunk anytime over the coming 20-25 years."
Tasting Panel Magazine scored this 97 points and said "Ripe plum nose; dense and dark with a velvety texture and complex flavors of spice, chocolate, and black cherry. Intense but always refined and elegant, this is yet another Chris Carpenter masterpiece."
The Wine Advocate scored this 96+ points and said "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cardinale Cabernet Sauvignon (containing 10% Merlot) gives beautiful red, black and blue fruit notes with touches of dried herbs, spice cake and unsmoked cigars, plus a waft of cedar. Medium to full-bodied, it has a firm structure with plenty of gregarious mid-palate fruit, finishing with a lingering herbal lift. This seductive blockbuster is temptingly drinkable now and it should age gracefully over 15-20 years. 2,579 cases produced."