Blackbird Vineyards Contrarian Napa Valley Proprietary Red 2016
Blend: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot
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 Vineyards is an artisanal producer of Bordeaux-inspired wines from Napa Valley. Crafted by esteemed winemaker Aaron Pott, each wine in the portfolio is a true example of Blackbird’s ongoing commitment to quality and diversity of terroir by partnering with a selection of Napa Valley’s most prestigious vineyards. These include sites in high altitudes of Spring Mountain and Atlas Peak, the alluvial terrain of Saint Helena and the Oak Knoll district in Napa, and the cool climates of Carneros.
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.