2021 Orin Swift Mercury Head Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, USA (750ml)
An almost-black, opaque garnet core sits in the glass with slow-moving tears falling down the sides. Immediate aromatic notes of ripe cassis, charred ribeye, sandalwood and freshly cut oak pilfer — breathe deeper for more. The first sip is a complex, layered conundrum of blackberry, black plum, fennel, licorice and dark chocolate. More sips peel back the layers to reveal a rich and balanced wine with a deep cassis core. A sweet linger on the finish closes the wine with softly textured chalky tannins.
Winemaker Dave Phinney expects to bottle a bit more than 6,000 cases of the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon Mercury Head, what he calls a "typical volume" for it. Sourced from a couple of well-known valley floor sites and the Stagecoach Vineyard (sometimes a bit of Monte Rosso Vineyard fruit makes it in the blend as well) and aged 13 months in 58% new oak, the nose offers up hints of menthol and cedar over a base of ripe cassis and cherries. It's full-bodied and velvety in the mouth, while a hint of dark chocolate creeps in on the lengthy finish.
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 96 pts
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