Blackbird Vineyards Illustration Proprietary Red 2006
Other Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
Optimal with decanting, this elegant, full-bodied wine unfolds with aromatic notes of black cherry, toffee, cocoa powder, iris flower, and subtle leather. Upon entry, the rich, focused core, with its boastful concentration, leads to intense flavors of brambled berries and roasted meat. Framed by persistent acidity and an elegant structure, the finish illustrates the wine's longevity.
Blend: 86% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine Spectator - "Shows lovely structure and finesse, offering currant and green olive aromas and appealing plum, sage and toasty vanilla notes that linger on the long finish. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon."
Connoisseurs' Guide - "86% Merlot; 11% Cabernet Franc; 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. It may well be that this ripe, lavishly oaked offering will outgrow its imposing, latter-palate astringency, for it leads with plenty of sweet black-cherry fruit and shows a nice flash of Merlot roundness before toughening and drawing up short at the finish. High richness compensates well for its evident heat, but enormous patience and great faith in the wine's future are required to take the plunge here. "
Perched to seize the day as Oak Knoll's foremost Merlot is Blackbird Vineyards, located in the heart of the district. Since 1999, this former walnut orchard, first planted with 5717 vines two years earlier, has quietly provided fruit to many of Napa's finest winemakers, for whom it has yielded astonishing reviews and stellar scorings. Purchased by entrepreneur Michael Polenske in 2003, Blackbird Vineyards is now an ultra premium label in its own right. (Fittingly, 'Merlot' is French patois for 'Little Blackbird.') View all Blackbird Vineyards Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Customer ReviewsSign In to Add Your Review5 }div>Related ProductsThe 2011 Illustration demonstrates elegant notes of cinnamon and black licorice, with opulent red fruit and iris aromas. The softly ...Arise is the most aspiring wine in the Blackbird Vineyards repertoire. Harvested, vinified, and barrel aged with an identical commitment ...
Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.