A Red That’ll Get Better with Age

A Red That’ll Get Better with Age

'Old World' styling in a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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Most people will never taste Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 or their S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings – they go for well over $100 a bottle. So what does one get with their “Artemis” Cabernet Sauvignon, today’s selection, for about $60? (This example uses some “Estate” fruit combined with grapes from other sources.) It is not a second label, but an exciting entity in its own right. As I sampled this on Monday night, two things registered: No. 1, this is an exciting bottle of wine, and No. 2, it’s just a baby, with complexities in the wings waiting for bottle age.

If you are capable of aging this wine in a cellar for a number of years, you will be the beneficiary. (I drank the 2005 vintage of this wine four months ago and the memory still lingers.) If not, please uncork in the morning and enjoy the considerable charms contained in this already flavorful wine.

2014 Artemis, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars $60 srp*

An opaque purple color glistening in the glass. An Old World nose of blackberry, cherry and tar, resembling a young Saint-Estèphe from Bordeaux. Elements of iodine. Smoke, cedar, damp earth and menthol add to the fascinating mix. Not jammy at all, but elegance and a subtle balance prevail. The soft mouth entry gives a medium to full-bodied wine, with plum, black cherry, chocolate and black pepper notes. The dusty, mineral-laden finish is still tight, with robust acids promising further development. This is already delicious, but it’s all straightforward and a “line drive” of flavor. A fine future ahead. (98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Merlot, 1% Malbec) Drink now-2026.

93/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.