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Wine of the Day

2007 Darms Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Bon Passe Vineyard Napa Valley

At the 1st Annual Wine Bloggers Conference, Alice Feiring was a guest speaker. During the Q&A section, she was asked, “If a Martian came to Earth and wanted to understand wine, what would you tell them?” Feiring immediately responded, “Drink Gamay.” Moments, perhaps days, of stunned silence followed. I suppose silly questions deserve silly answers.

The next Martian I meet will be the first. But, surprisingly, I do meet a lot of Earthlings who haven’t had a really good Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Some are from Europe where the wine is hard to find. Others live on the East Coast and grew up with a bent toward old world wine, or just an anti-Left Coast bias. A couple were raised by wolves. Anyway, whether due to their own curiosity or my encouragement, they eventually want to know what all the fuss is about. “What wine should I taste to understand Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon?” they ask.

Here’s one good answer: 2007 Darms Lane Bon Passe Vineyard. It has all of the hallmarks of a classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The color is concentrated ruby with purple in the rim and legs. A nose of black cherry, black currant and currant leaf wafts out of the glass to greet you. Complementary aromas of oak, cocoa and vanilla join in. On the palate, the wine is just short of full body with ripe, talc-like tannins that balance the alcohol and rich fruit. The most prominent flavors are black currant, tobacco leaf, black cherry and coconut. It is a smooth wine with a lengthy finish that leaves you wanting more. It will pair well with steak or lamb.

Nothing in this wine is out of balance or calls particular attention to itself. Being from the Oak Knoll District, it is ripe and pure but doesn’t have one dominant feature to identify it’s origin like a Roman nose or Yorkshire accent. It’s not as ripe as Calistoga, robustly tannic as Howell Mountain or replete with the briary blackberry of Mt. Veeder. There is no Rutherford dust. But, while the wine doesn’t wear its terroir on its sleeve, it is an impeccable representation of both Cabernet Sauvignon and the predominant (rather than stereotypical) winemaking style of Napa Valley. Enjoy now through 2017. Highly Recommended.


2007 Darms Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Bon Passe Vineyard Napa Valley
Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: now through 2017
Retail Price: $60.00
, direct from the winery
Origin: Bon Passe Vineyard, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley

Winemaker: Brian Mox
Blend: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 20 months in French oak barrels, 50% new

Alcohol: 14.5%

Closure: Cork
Production: 495 cases

The wine above was provided for review by the winery.

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This article is original to Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.