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Cliff Lede High Fidelity 2010

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • RP93
15.1% ABV
  • RP94
  • RP95
  • WS90
  • RP96
  • RP90
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15.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Inspired by the right bank blends of Bordeaux, this blend is based on Merlot. Blackberry tart, mocha, and tobacco leaf characters develop into dried flowers on the nose. A rich, opulent texture in the mid-palate is layered with black currant and allspice. The silky tannins are braced by a beam of minerality that extends through the finish indicating the benefits of cellaring.

Blend: 54% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Dark plums, mocha, cloves and sweet, exotic spices inform the Merlot-based 2010 High Fidelity. Here it is the relatively high presence of Cabernet Franc that gives the wine much of its aromatic nuance and sheer presence. This voluptuous, dark wine needs a few years in the cellar, but it is pretty delicious, even today.
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Cliff Lede

Cliff Lede Vineyards

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Cliff Lede Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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Established in 2002, Cliff Lede Vineyards encompasses 60 acres in the famed Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. Owner Cliff Lede, viticulturist David Abreu, winemaker Kale Anderson and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka have come together to form an unrivalled team, making the most of this remarkable property. Their state-of-the-art gravity-flow winery boasts a berry-by-berry sorting system and conical tanks commissioned using a design inspired by the tanks of Chateau Latour. One tank per vineyard block ensures each lot evolves at its own pace and acres of caves with single-layer barrel storage ensure access to each barrel at all times. The winery produces Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their flagship, Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon, is crafted from the steep hillside portion of the estate.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

DOY183461_2010 Item# 183461