A row of barrels in the Relic cave.

2010 Artefact Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 produced incredibly dense, dark, powerful Bordeaux varietals in Napa Valley, and this is our final release from that heralded year. It is well worth the wait! This is the first vintage in what will become a long string of Artefact bottlings that include fruit from the magnificent Corona Vineyard perched above Oakville to the west. This tiny 3 acre site yields Cabernet Sauvignon with the smallest, most concentrated berries possible. The soil is like a moonscape, with tiny shale pebbles going who-knows how deep. The result is a wine with a great sense of terroir and minerality. A saturated purple color gives a clue to what is to come, and the aromatics suggest nobility with deep, dark notes of blackberry syrup, sage, dark chocolate, warm sand and sweet Asian spice. The palate is absolutely huge, with a massive mouthfeel and wonderful integration of the dense, fine-grained tannins. The flavors last well beyond the structure on the long finish – always a harbinger of great things to come.

  • 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 8% Malbec
  • Corona Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville
  • Cabernet Franc from the gravelly Jim and Jeanne Frediani Vineyard
  • Malbec from Larkmead District
  • Aged in 100% new French Oak
  • Unfined & unfiltered
  • 195 cases made

Aromas of cassis, briary blackberry and bitter chocolate, lifted by a violet topnote. Large-scaled, chewy, mountain-style wine (it's from the Corona vineyard at the top of the Oakville Grade), with a medicinal quality to its flavors of black cherry, blackberry and licorice. This youthfully musclebound cabernet finishes with substantial tannins and very good energy. Serve it with a rare steak now or, better yet, hold it for five years for more complexity. These small, thick-skinned berries ripen late, notes winemaker Mike Hirby.
Stephen Tanzer
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
May/June 2013