Blackbird Vineyards Illustration Proprietary Red 2007
Other Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
The 2007 Illustration reveals a dense nose of plum, cherry, and mulberry with hints of iris, mint and tobacco weaved throughout. Elegant flavors of red currant, coffee, licorice and tobacco deliver on the palate, offering soft texture, velvety tannins, with great complexity and length. Illustration is optimal to drink after decanting or can be laid down to develop further with time in the bottle. Touted as the "vintage of the decade" by wine critics and winemakers alike, Blackbird's 2007 wines offer approachable tannins with incredible flavor concentration and length imparted by the mild growing season.
Wine Enthusiast - "A spectacular wine that gets better and better with every sip. It’s dramatic from the get-go, with rich, fine tannins framing extraordinarily good flavors of blackberries, black currants, anise, dark chocolate and cedar. Superb structure, great length and finish, with perfect acidity. A joy to drink. Now–2016."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2007s ratchet up things. Composed of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2007 Illustration reveals sweeter fruit, more opulence and flamboyance, and plenty of spice, wood smoke, black currant, plum, and licorice notes. Already drinking beautifully, this complex 2007 should continue to evolve and provide gracious, satisfying drinking for at least 12-15 years. "
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.
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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.