2012 Select Reserve Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley: Atlas Peak
Knights of the Red Table
We’re blessed to welcome Ardente back to our pages! Ardente remains one of our Top 5 best-selling wineries - and for good reason. They’re always sublime!
Today’s Ardente Estate 2012 Select Reserve Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon is a Cab-lover’s dream come true. Especially at today’s price. Stock up on this 10+ year wine!
This wine was made by Pierre Birebent, who has made wines for some of the best American wine houses, including Stags Leap Winery, Indian Creek Vineyard, Kuleto Estate, Costello Vineyard and, most recently, the much-admired SIgnorello Winery. He is also one of the most accoladed winemakers we know.
So, what do we think of today’s wine? Here goes:
Ahhh… There’s the Ardente aromatics that we’ve missed so much! On the nose, this wine exudes depth and character, with aromas of violet, black cherry, blackberry, red currant, toasted brioche, clove, dried herbs, leather and cracked pepper.
This still-youthful wine is wound tightly on opening, but with some extended decanting (and a bit of roughing up in the glass with some hearty swirling), it comes to life. Flavors of juicy blackberry, wild strawberry, cassis, black licorice, dried violet, dark spice, leather and black pepper abound.
This wine is drinking exceptionally well at the moment, but you can be assured that it will go for another decade or more.
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
94 points - Catherine Fallis, Planet Grape’s Master Sommelier - “Powerful, rich, round and supple, this mountain-grown Cabernet Sauvignon has notes of dried cranberry, black currant, plum, fig, mushroom, charred pasilla pepper, cinnamon raisin bread, chocolate mousse, devil’s food cake, tobacco, and sweet toasty oak. It is firm and full-bodied with a fleshy middle and ample, gripping tannins on the long, flavorful finish.”
94 points - Christopher Sawyer, “Sommelier to the Stars” - “Although it’s in the hills a few miles east of downtown Napa; the Atlas Peak appellation is a hidden gem not visited as often as the more popular areas on the valley floor.
What makes this region so special is a mixture of rugged hillsides, narrow windy roads, warm days and cool winds that drop the temperature quickly in the late afternoon. Thus, growing grapes is not for the faint of heart.
One of the brave wine lovers to plant grapes on this steep terrain is Carlo Di Ruocco, the founder of Mr. Espresso specialty coffees, who believed the terroir of Atlas Peak had great promise in the early 1990s. After purchasing property and developing a 20-acre parcel of estate vineyards with his wife Marie Francoise, the family founded Ardente Estate Winery in 1996.
In Latin, “ardente” means a burning desire. Following their passion, the Di Ruocco family’s commitment to quality shows in their new elegant blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and smaller amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The end result is heavy aromas of blue and black fruits, mountain herbs, licorice, roasted walnuts, and fine French oak.
On the palate, the lavish flavors are highlighted with notes of dark cherry, blackberry, cassis, dark chocolate, mineral, chewy tannins, smooth texture, and a long rewarding finish. Think of a mountain inside a bottle and bingo! That’s the Ardente Select Reserve, Atlas Peak, and the great 2012 vintage all encapsulated in each sip of this fabulous limited release wine.
With food, try this wine with pasta and a hearty red sauce, pork roast, rack of lamb, grilled steaks, or a fine cigar after dinner. Note: This wine is still young and loaded with concentrated flavors. So decant or let it breathe in the glass for a few minutes, then enjoy.”
Deep and inky with a dark, opaque heart of the darkest crimson. At the edges, a wide band of garnet runs a circle around the glass.
Violet, black cherry, blackberry, red currant, toasted brioche, clove, dried herbs, leather and cracked pepper.
Blackberry, wild strawberry, cassis, black licorice, dried violet, dark spice, leather and black pepper.
Elegant, nice and long, with plush, velvety tannins.
Are you kidding? A tender filet mignon (or any cut of beef), seared on the outside, as rare as you can take it on the inside.
What the Winery Says
- Pierre Birebent
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- 91% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 7% Merlot
- 2% Cabernet Franc
- Atlas Peak, Napa Valley
- Harvest date
- October 9 - 26
- 0.57 g/100 ml
- 20 months
- 60% new French oak
- unfined, unfiltered