2010 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley

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VERDICT: "Outstanding - Starkie!"
Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.4% alc.
Review by Clinton Stark

Run for the hills! Here’s a Napa Valley Cabernet with clout.

When I think of Mt. Veeder I usually envision a struggling root, gasping for a measly drop of water. Anything will do. Especially for a vine hanging off the the dry, steep hillsides of this challenging terrain. On the upside: drainage is great. But, oh, those poor, poor vines.

The vines that do survive tend to produce grapes that are intensely flavored. That alone should tell you loads about what to expect fro any wine you see on a store shelf with “Mt. Veeder” on the label. Odds are it won’t be a wallflower. Stand and deliver.

Christopher Carpenter helms this Mt. Brave Cabernet. If the name rings a bell it’s likely because of his 100 pointer. That would be the Cardinale. 2006 vintage. Carpenter was the winemaker¬†And 100 points was the score. Then critic for Wine Enthusiast, Steve Heimoff bestowed it perfection in a blind tasting of 70 wines. In his words: “sheer, dazzling, opulent, luxurious, structured.”

That brief context should give you some sense of what to expect from this 2010 Cab. Recently I had a chance to taste barrel lots of Mt. Brave during Premiere Napa Valley where Chris Carpenter was pouring, praising the ’12 vintage. I had the same reaction: powerful stuff. If you like backbone, and tannins you’ll recognize this sort of flavor profile quickly. The dark red fruit is lush – raspberry wonderland.

I wouldn’t call this one a daily drinker. It’s $75. But price aside, this is a wine that will rent your palate for a good day or so. If you’re like me, this is a Cab that begs for a hearty porterhouse (and steak frites!); a few friends, and you have yourself the makings of a special evening.

Mt. Brave 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt. Veeder Napa Valley

14.4% alc

$75, 95 points

Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear