Larkmead Firebelle 2016
Firebelle found its stride in 2016 due to the year’s more moderate growing conditions. A slightly longer hang-time helped draw out the aroma profile on this wine, leading with red cherry and apple skin before descending gracefully to darker tones of plum and blueberries. Hints of incense and cola dance around semi-sweet chocolate notes as the perfume finishes with a gorgeous integration.
The complex aromas stem from the Cabernet Sauvignon while the palate of this wine is excitingly Merlot – open and supple, blue and resonant. The wine is broad and builds density in the mouth before it drops its fruit core for a dusty, bittersweet chocolate and cherry finish that bodes well for the ageability of this wine.
Blend: 67% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Attractive aromas and flavors of black olives and plums. Medium body, firm and silky tannins and a juicy finish. Nice, linear tannins. Turns chewy and muscular. Precise and focused. Give it some time. Drink in 2022.
Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.
Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.