Wine: 1999 Cardinale Proprietary Red
Winemaker: Charles Thomas
Appellation: 53% Napa Valley, 47% Sonoma
Estimated Cost: $90
Cardinale, which is one of Jess Jackson's boutique wineries, has always been one of my favorite walk-in tastings in the Napa Valley. The winery is located just north of Yountville on Highway 29. The tasting room is usually uncrowded, and they have a beautiful, large balcony with great views to the north overlooking the entire valley. Recently, however, they changed their format to tasting by appointment only. The tastings are now guided by a wine educator and include artisanal cheeses as well. Such tastings can be very educational, but I usually prefer to taste on my own without the influence of a winery representative telling me what the wine tastes like or what score was given by what critic. Nonetheless, the wines are top flight, the views are fantastic, and $35 is a very fair price to pay for tasting several vintages of wine which sells for $125 per bottle upon release. Click here to arrange a tasting.
Tasting Notes: The 1999 Cardinale Proprietary Red is an elegant red consisting of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot. More recent vintages seem to be made from grapes grown in Napa County, but the '99 Cardinale includes 47% Sonoma County fruit. The wine has a powerful, deep and complex nose. Notes of Black cherries, blackberries, hoisin sauce, chocolate and new leather emerge as it sits in the glass. The mouth feel is elegant, rich and expansive with beautifully firm structure. Enjoy this one with Colorado lamb. Although it seems to be difficult to find at less than $90, keep an eye out for this one on either WineBid.com or WineCommune.com. You might be able to find some in the mid-seventies on either of these two auction sites. 93 points. find it