2015 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Larkmead Vineyard
California: Napa Valley: St. Helena
“Proprietor Cam Baker and his winemaker Dan Petroski continue to prove irrefutably what a first growth terroir Larkmead possesses. Located directly on the valley floor north of St. Helena, this is a superb site, with alluvial, gravelly soils, but there’s diversity in the soil, with plenty of clay, rock and what they refer to as Cortina Gravel. As I have written before, this is an extraordinary estate spread out in one contiguous parcel (unusual) in the center of the Napa Valley floor, and the Cabernet Sauvignon is the Olmo Clone which became well-known as the Eisele Clone when it was planted in the famous vineyard of that name” - Robert Parker
We’ve had some legendary wines lately, but none, NONE we dare say, can top this score. LARKMEAD!! No doubt you’ve been hanging around in q-tine, taking the SIP orders quite literally and drinking some pretty good stuff because there’s no time like the present, right? Well here’s one you NEED in your YOLO, drink with abandon, seize the day rotation. HUGE scores every vintage - the 2015 here earned WE97, and JD95 Oh yea…and BEST price in the country!
Larkmead represents the cream of the crop in Napa Valley and despite being one of the oldest wineries in Napa alongside Beaulieu, Inglenook and Beringer, winemaker Dan Petroski says “We’re the most famous winery you’ve never heard of”. If Napa had Bordeaux like classifications they’d be a frontrunner for First Growth status. They aren’t the flashiest or most expensive - but they’re among the most loved by collectors. It’s also home to one of the most prolific plots of land in the entire region. Centuries worth of alluvial flow deposited ancient riverbed gravel, clay and loam across their land, making for a perfect canvas to cultivate powerful, complex wines. Then you have winemaker Dan Petroski, who cut his teeth first in Sicily at Valle dell’Acate Winery, then at DuMOL in Sonoma. In 2006 he joined the team at Larkmead, and became head winemaker in 2012. By 2017 the San Francisco Chronicle heralded him as Winemaker of the Year.
The aromatics SOAR from the glass with violets, crushed rock and dusty black fruit. Powerful, lush and structured - while slightly rustic in nature, it has an insane depth of fruit too, with dark cherry, blackberry, graphite, mint, and sweet dusty tannins all lined up in a parade. Head spinning complexity! Enjoy one now, or in ten years. Or in twenty. You just can’t go wrong here.
Larkmead has been absolutely killing it the past few years and this is truly an amazing score that will leave even the most jaded Cabernet drinker speechless. As Decanter once mentioned, “The wines are difficult to get hold of but they represent an ideal of Napa that was nearly lost. They are worth searching out.” Indeed, this is as good as it gets. Don’t hesitate because we have only a few cases to spare of this beauty!
97 Points - Wine Enthusiast
“Cellar Selection! With a tiny 3% addition of Cabernet Franc, this wine is defined by aromas of violet and crushed rock. Oak, clove and graphite dot a landscape of bold structure on the palate, with bright acidity balancing the concentration and grip. Enjoy 2025-2030.”
95 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
“Located north of Saint Helena and pulling all from their estate vineyard located around the winery, owner Cam Baker and winemaker Dan Petroski have produced some true superstars in 2015. These are ripe, full-bodied, majestic, yet structured wines that are going to age beautifully. There’s been a distinct stylistic shift with the 2016s, which were harvested far in advance of when most were harvesting, and the wines are certainly still beautiful, yet more tannic, backward, and angular. They’ll be beautiful wines, but certainly in a different style than previous vintages. Moving to the 2015s, the largest production cuvee from younger vines is the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and it includes 3% Cabernet Franc and spent 18 months in 65% new French oak. Possessing terrific richness in its dark fruit, tobacco and Graves-like minerality, this beauty is full-bodied, concentrated and layered on the palate. It’s a beautiful base cuvee that does everything right. Drink 2016-2036.”
What the Winery Says
- Dan Petroski
- 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc
- St. Helena, Napa Valley
- 100% Larkmead Estate
- Cortina (gravel), bale loam (sand), Pleasanton loam (clay)
- 19 months
- 65% new French oak from Demptos & Hermitage