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Larkmead Firebelle 2013

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • RP94
  • JS94
14.9% ABV
  • JS96
  • JD93
  • RP91
  • RP94
  • V94
  • RP96
  • JS94
  • RP91
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14.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

In the 2013 Firebelle, Larkmead blended Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot to help accentuate the Merlot’s ripe, blue plum skin aromas and berry character while providing accompanying floral and cola notes. These aromas are bright but tightly woven into themselves; however, with time in the glass, there is a pleasant hint of loam soil on the nose that brings the wine back to earth. In the mouth you’ll find the characteristic expansiveness of the vintage - a broad, mouth coating textural component that is dusty with a hint of cherry and bittersweet chocolate. The tannins wrap gently around a blueberry core that has subtle tones of sassafras.

Blend: 76% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon. 5% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Firebelle Proprietary Red is a blend of 76% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. This wine shows loads of roasted espresso notes mixed with white chocolate, plum, black cherry and currant. The wine is ripe, opulent, full-bodied and a very sexy, lush example of 2013 to drink over the next 15 or more years.
JS 94
James Suckling
The blackberry and bramble berry aromas with cloves, walnuts and cedar undertones follow through to a full body, firm and chewy tannins and a fresh finish. Needs time to soften, but impressive backbone of tannins and fruit. Better in 2020.
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Larkmead

Larkmead

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Larkmead, Napa Valley, California
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Larkmead Vineyards dates back to the late 1800s, and have been owned by the Solari family since 1948. The historic Larkmead Estate is comprised of 145 acres. Due to the dramatic variation in soil types, the vineyard is divided into three distinct areas in order to maximize fruit and subsequent wine quality while diversifying flavor profiles for blending purposes. The true character of Larkmead and its unique wines are a direct result of the topography, climate, and the exceptional geology of the soils.

Larkmead is 100% Estate fruit; it is therefore imperative to them that they treat the land as a polyculture system with all factors interrelated and focus on long term soil health. They are always seeking environmentally sound, long term solutions that promote the natural expression of their vineyards, resulting in wine that is unique in its purity, texture, and complexity.

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 1960s, 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 1980s, 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 are 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.

STC273935_2013 Item# 239184