Blackbird Vineyards Contrarian Napa Valley Proprietary Red 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Though Blackbird’s original wine was a merlotfocused blend, current winemaker Aaron Pott takes Contrarian in a savory, less voluptuous direction. The wine is grounded by cabernet sauvignon, with a contribution from Ballard Vineyard on Spring Mountain that lends it stature and breed, as well as mineral-inflected tannins that carry the smokiness of rock striking rock. The wine’s blackberry juiciness and black-olive savor gain depth and detail with air, the flavors glimmering like cool water in a well. It has an old-fashioned sense of Napa Valley, before the wines got fancy. Decant it for Mediterranean lamb.
64% Cabernet Sauvignon; 29% Cabernet Franc; 7% Merlot. Not a wine of great power or bombast, but one that exhibits a good deal of finesse, the latest Blackbird Contrarion is a very mannerly, well-polished working that, with each sniff and sip, shows more richness and range as suggestions of sweet oak, fresh loam and dried herbs emerge as complexing complements to its concentrated, ripe currant fruit. Its finish is framed by firm, hard-to-ignore tannins just now, but increasing refinement and a long life appear to be in store here provided one is willing to forego hasty drinking.
Blackbird was founded in 2003 with the goal of handcrafting truly expressive wines from the Napa Valley, focusing on Bordeaux varieties. Our wines are an expression of the dynamic terroir of Napa Valley. Only 30 miles long and five miles wide, Napa Valley offers a stunning diversity of soils, climate, and topographical conditions suitable for growing world-class wine grapes. With vigneron Aaron Pott’s guidance, Blackbird’s approach to production relies on multi-sourced vineyards and varieties, allowing for a harmonious whole, greater than the sum of its parts.
Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.
Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.