2016 'Contrarian' Napa Valley Cabernet Blend
Red Blend •Ballard, Hudson, Stagecoach
California: Napa Valley
On the contrary
BOLD. POWERFUL. POTENT.
If that sounds like your kind of wine, please keep reading. Just do it quickly because today’s feature from Blackbird Vineyards is a total showstopper with a 94 point score, FOUR 93s, and an exclusive lock on the world’s best price!
This one took some work… And after much cajoling, begging, and a delivery of Jacques’ world-famous chocolate chip cookies from Goldbelly , we finally got the green light. LFG!
Anyone who knows Napa wine knows Blackbird. The winery was born from the famous vineyard by the same name, which supplied many a top name with prime fruit. For nearly thirty years they’ve been pumping out ultra-premium wines. Today Aaron Pott puts his magic touch on this one. The guy’s a freak of winemaking nature - he started at Newton before migrating to winemaker at Château Troplong-Mondot, and then jumped over to Château La Tour Figeac in Saint-Emillion. He’s also worked at Beringer and Quintessa. Nowadays he consults for a variety of super-high-end wineries including Blackbird, while he also makes his own Pott Wine.
If you know Aaron’s style, you know what to expect here. Dark, inky, and BIG bodied. No subtlety here. We’re talking the blackest blackberries and cassis, leather and torrefaction, mocha and tobacco all layered perfectly in a deep, mouthcoating texture. Powerful and structured, it’s a baby now, so decant for a while before you enjoy. Could lay it down another ten years but really, it’s outstanding today.
Did we mention the world’s lowest price? A rare chance to grab a wine that rarely sees any substantial discount.
As James Suckling said: “Delicious now. Why wait?”
94 Points – Wine & Spirits
“Though Blackbird’s original wine was a Merlot focused blend, current winemaker Aaron Pott takes Contrarian in a savory, less voluptuous direction. The wine is grounded by cabernet sauvignon, with a contribution from Ballard Vineyard on Spring Mountain that lends it stature and breed, as well as mineral-inflected tannins that carry the smokiness of rock striking rock. The wine’s blackberry juiciness and black-olive savor gain depth and detail with air, the flavors glimmering like cool water in a well. It has an old-fashioned sense of Napa Valley, before the wines got fancy. Decant it for Mediterranean lamb.”
93+ Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Blended of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Contrarian Proprietary Red reveals notes of crushed black and red currants, black cherries and red plums with touches of red roses, black tea, tilled soil and tobacco. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers intense red and black fruit layers with plenty of earthy sparks and a grainy frame, finishing long and refreshing. Drink 2019-2034”
93+ Points – Jeb Dunnuck
“Starting with the 2016 Contrarian Proprietary Red Wine, this deep purple-colored effort checks in as 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Cabernet Franc, and the balance Merlot. It offers plenty of classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon flair in its blue fruits, graphite, licorice, and mineral-laced aromas and flavors. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, has a straight, focused style, terrific purity, and building tannins. It’s going to require 4-6 years of bottle age and will drink nicely for 15+ years or more. Drink 2023-2038.”
93 Points - Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“Aaron Pott turned out a gorgeous set of wines for Blackbird. A new winery scheduled to be ready this year, should provide the resources and flexibility to take these wines to the next level. Arise is the entry-level offering, while Illustration, Paramour and Contrarian are Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends, respectively. The 2016 Contrarian is a bold, powerful wine. Beams of Cabernet tannin give the 2016 its shape and overall feel. Sage, lavender, menthol, licorice, spice and leather add shades of nuance. Potent and also structured, the 2016 needs time in bottle to shed some of its tannin. Contrarian is Blackbird’s Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine. Drink 2024-2031.”
93 Points – James Suckling
“A juicy and rich red with lots of fruit and polished yet fine tannins. Medium to full body and tight, focused fruit. Delicious now. Why wait?”
Dark, inky black in the opaque core, showing its viscosity
No subtlety here, the blackest blackberries and cassis, leather and torrefaction, mocha and tobacco
All layered perfectly in a deep, mouthcoating texture, it’s a baby now, so decant for a while before you enjoy
Powerful and structured, could lay it down another ten years but really, it’s outstanding today, long and complex
A thick-cut seared medium-rare, or anything with black truffles really
What the Winery Says
- Consulting winemaker
- Aaron Pott
- Kyle Mizuno
- 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot
- Napa Valley
- Ballard, Hudson, Stagecoach
- 21 months
- 75% new French oak