Rivers-Marie 2018 Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Brix26 Wines


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Thomas Rivers Brown and Genevieve Marie Welsh started Rivers Marie in 2002 making single variety wines made to reflect the vineyard & vintage from which they came. Focusing on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet, the wines are usually sold through the mailing list only - limited.

Keeping with the theme of expansion, we added another block of older vines from Larkmead in 2018.  Neighboring our original block of Olmo clone is a tiny block of Jenkins clone Cabernet resting in the same Cortina soil.  We have always loved this clone of Cabernet having worked with it at Outpost’s True Vineyard and Gemstone Estate.  There’s nothing else quite like it in the world of Cabernet.  It manages to be both exotic and wildly singular while still coming across as very complete.  It has proven to be a very nice complement to what we’ve been working with from Larkmead since 2012. The color here is a bit darker than normal with mostly fruit tones first present on the nose.  That familiar muscular walnut husk, roasted nut quality of Larkmead pokes through quickly though placing this wine stylistically in more of a classic era of California wine.  Where in the past this wine could be considered the “lightest” of the lineup, the 2018 shows the power of the vintage and a marked improvement from the addition of the new block.  The fruit is still purple leaning and the ethereal notes of the past still pop out on palate entry but a weightier middle kicks in almost immediately with notes of sage, graphite, cassis, lavender and a brambly spice note.  The tannin starts earlier too adding texture and a dusty, baker’s chocolate note.  In the past, I felt this bottling would always need a few years in the cellar to present a complete palate expression.  Not so here with the addition of our little Jenkins block.  All these additional blending options from all these great sites prove in 2018 that sometimes more is more.

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