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Ramey Pedregal Vineyard Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

The Corkscrewer Report 100pts:

Perfection is never the goal. Is the Mona Lisa perfect? Is Citizen Kane? Is James Joyce’s Ulysses? Awarding a wine 100 points only when it’s perfect, to our publication, seems like a futile exercise. And besides, who’s the arbiter of what’s perfect, anyway? The Pedregal Cab is a monumental expression of California winemaking. It’s one gorgeous, epic masterpiece. Epic doesn’t mean grandiose. Ansel Adams’ famous black & white photographs of Yosemite’s rugged peaks aren’t grandiose but they are epic and stately and glorious and monumental. The Pedregal is all of these things, but what is even more remarkable about this wine is its finesse. A delicate and silky-smooth yet robust texture on the palate that coaxes out the wine’s multifaceted complexities is how one comes to define great finesse. There’s one First Growth Bordeaux wine in particular known for its astounding finesse: Chateau Margaux. This is David Ramey’s Chateau Margaux—sensual and cerebral at the same time from brilliant start to intoxicatingly beautiful finish. David is adamant that his Pedregal holds up in comparison to stratospherically-priced California cult Cabs like Screaming Eagle. We have no reason whatsoever to doubt it, and so, we think this wine is a perfect way to spend $200.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 97+pts:

As usual, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Vineyard is a great wine (a 650-case blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Petit Verdot). This sexy, full-throttle, opaque purple-colored 2012 boasts fabulous concentration along with copious notes of pen ink, blueberries, blackberries, and hints of graphite and espresso bean. Deep, full-bodied and multidimensional, this sensational Cabernet should drink well for 20-25 years. When I was tasting with David Ramey, he opened a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Vineyard, which I also rated 96. A truly great offering, it was just coming into drinkability at the age of 10. I think the 2012 will ultimately be better and last even longer than the 2004.

Wine Spectator 95pts:

This features a deep, exotic streak of melted black licorice amid layers of blackberry and wild berry, supported by firm, fine-grained tannins and hints of espresso and graphite. Most impressive on the long, sustained finish that keeps repeating the core flavor themes.

From the winemaker:

2012 turned out to be a perfect vintage with clear sunny days and cool evenings. This produced a long, moderate growing season with extended hang time and even ripening, resulting in optimum tannin maturity and a deep range of flavors. The vintage ended with a textbook harvest starting on September 1st and ending exactly two months later on Halloween.

This year's Pedregal is 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Petit Verdot co-fermented. Aging the 2012 sur lies with monthly bâtonnage has coated the tannins and smoothly integrated the wood. We left this vintage 19 months in 100% new French barrels (Taransaud and Darnajou). Non-filtered.

This is our ninth vintage from this small, outstanding vineyard on the lower slopes of the eastern Oakville hills. “Pedregal” means a rocky place in Spanish, and that is certainly a distinguishing feature of the site. During 2008 we agreed to a long-term lease of this vineyard which gives us complete control even through any change in ownership, so this is the fourth vintage we’ve directed farming ourselves.

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Category: 2012, 90+ points, California

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