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Dancing Hares 2008

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • RP95
  • WS95
  • WE94
14.8% ABV
  • WS93
  • RP95
  • WS93
  • WS95
  • WS92
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14.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

All four varieties on the estate added to the depth and hedonistic pleasure of the 2008 Dancing Hares, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc provided the bulk of the blend. There is a fresh, vibrant character to the wine, with aromas and flavors of fresh-cut black cherries, ripe raspberries, and blueberry pie. The tannins are seamlessly integrated with the fruit, and the finish seems to go on for minutes. This is definitely a wine that delivers immediately in its youth, and that should be on an upward trajectory for years to come.

Blend: 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Even better, and seriously underrated by me last year, is the 2008 Dancing Hares. A blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot, production is 525 cases of this exceptionally opulent, intense wine with an inky bluish purple color and a glorious noise of creosote, camphor, and blueberry pie intermixed with acacia flowers, forest floor and black currants. The compelling aromatics are easily backed up by a full-bodied wine buttressed by sweet tannin and fresh acids, giving it a laser-like precision. This is slightly better than the 2007, which is somewhat of an anomaly, and has great texture and suppleness. Drink this now or cellar it for 20+ years.
WS 95
Wine Spectator
Rich and powerful, yet graceful and detailed, exhibiting tiers of complex flavors built around rich blackberry, blueberry and wild berry flavors, with roasted herb, tar and smoke touches. Full-bodied and supple in texture, ending with a long, pure, persistent finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best from 2012 through 2023.
WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
Rich, vital and dramatically layered, offering tiers of ripe cherry and blackberry flavors. The oak is sweetly toasted and fine. Based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, this is framed with firm mountain tannins that make it ageworthy. The first bottle tasted was off. Drink now—with a long decanting—through 2020. Cellar Selection.
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Dancing Hares

Dancing Hares

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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 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 lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally 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 in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

ASWDH08_2008 Item# 117797