2006 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga (Formerly Larkmead)

Year: 2006
Appellation: Napa Valley
Country: USA-California
Wine Spectator: 88
Wine Advocate: 92+
Vinous Media: 93
Connoisseurs' Guide: 88
Red Wine
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"Intense and slightly earthy and rustic in a pleasant way. Shows pebble, fresh earth and a touch of forest floor, with spicy currant and berry fruit that's wrapped in the wine's earthiness. Ends with rich tannins. Best from 2010 through 2016. 3,820 cases made." (WS)

"Although backward, the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Larkmead Vineyard (3,820 cases) is extremely promising. Its inky/ruby/purple color is followed by a gorgeous perfume of smoke herbs, graphite, creme de cassis, coffee beans, and toasty oak. With sensational fruit on the attack and mid-palate, and a finish filled with power, glycerin, depth, and impressive structure, this 2006 will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age, and should evolve for two decades or more.

David Ramey’s Healdsburg operation is becoming bigger and bigger, as evidenced by his 60,000-case production in both 2006 and 2007. However, quality continues to be exciting, offering a broad array of Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons, and more recently, a handful of Syrahs. The entry level Chardonnays include three generic appellations, Carneros, Russian River, and Sonoma Coast. All three need to be consumed sooner rather than later. The three single vineyard Chardonnays are all from top sites, the Hudson and Hyde vineyards in Carneros, and the Russian River’s Ritchie Vineyard. Production is much smaller for these cuvees, from just under 1,400 cases for the Hudson to over 2,500 cases for the Hyde." (WA)

"($70; includes 4% petit verdot, 3% cabernet franc and 2% malbec) Glass-staining ruby. Deep, youthfully brooding cassis and dark cherry on the nose, with a strong licorice note building in the glass. Sappy black and blue fruit flavors are framed by dusty tannins and energized by a tangy mineral note. The licorice quality repeats on the finish, which is broad, sappy and impressively persistent. For a big boy, this is pretty graceful." (IWC)

"4% Petit Verdot; 3% Cabernet Franc; 3% Malbec. If perhaps not as big as its two siblings, Ramey's Larkmead Cabernet never wants for substance or size. It marries dark fruit and chocolate and a touch of dried herbs in the nose, and it follows with very ripe flavors whose extract and density come at the cost of fairly gruff tannins. It is unlikely be a wine of refinement regardless of age, but it very much needs to be left undisturbed for at least a half-dozen years." (CG)

Winery Notes:
Our third release from this historic vineyard on Larkmead Lane surrounding the former Hans Kornell Winery—which in turn enclosed the historic Larkmead Winery. That winery dated from the 1880’s, when it was owned by Lillie Hitchcock Coit of Coit Tower fame. Located on the valley floor, we surmise that Ritchie Creek, separating the Spring Mountain and Diamond Mountain appellations, once ran through this site, resulting in the prominent gravel and excellent drainage which distinguishes this vineyard. I had worked with some parcels from Larkmead while I was with Rudd, so I knew its potential for quality. This vintage is blended of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petite Verdot and 2% Malbec, and was aged eighteen months in sixty percent new French barrels.