About Cardinale 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
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% 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 98+ saying "The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is based on a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot that spent 22 months in 81% new French oak. It’s a wonderfully complete, borderline perfect wine that shows the class of this estate as well as the vintage, revealing a seamless, full-bodied style that carries lots of blackcurrant, graphite, lead pencil, and tobacco aromatics, a deep, layered mid-palate, ultra-fine tannins, and flawless balance. As with most of Chris’s 2018s, it’s a wine that builds slowly with time in the glass, offering a layered, singular character. It’s a gorgeous 2018 that can be drunk today with ample pleasure, but it will ideally be given 4-6 years of bottle age, at which point it should evolve gracefully for 30-40 years."
The Wine Advocate scored this 98 points saying "Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, the 2018 Cardinale was aged in French oak barrels for 22 months, 81% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it prances out of the glass with gregarious notions of warm cassis, black cherries and wild blueberries, followed by emerging earth scents with a tobacco and garrigue undercurrent. Medium to full-bodied, gracefully styled and refreshing, the vibrant black and blue-fruited palate offers a wonderfully fine-grained texture and bags of energy, finishing long with a skip in its step."
James Suckling scored this 97 points saying "Aromas of blackberries, plums and spice with some pine needles and fresh mushrooms. Full-bodied with very fine, round tannins and a juicy sophistication and flavorful profile. Dark and thought-provoking. So approachable. 90% cabernet sauvignon and 10% merlot. Drink or hold."