Sullivan Vineyards Estate Rutherford Cabernet 2012
By Scott Mcleod
By Jonathan H. Newman*
Sullivan Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 by Scott McLeod
UNIT SIZE: 750.00 ml
VARIETAL: Cabernet Sauvignon
GRAPE: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
COUNTRY: United States
REGION: Napa Valley
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 14.70%
The combination of the powerhouse Estate vineyards of Sullivan Winery, which is located in the heart of Rutherford, and superstar winemaker Scott McLeod makes for one of 2012’s most delicious Cabernets from Napa Valley. Sullivan dates back 36 years, and their marquee vineyard site is located right next to Beckstoffer’s famed vineyard. This is Sullivan’s first vintage made by acclaimed winemaker Scott McLeod. Scott was the top winemaker for Francis Ford Coppola and deserves credit for making Rubicon one of the most famed wines made in Napa Valley since he took the helm in 1991. One of my favorite tastings I attended was at a Wine Spectator event several years ago with Francis Ford Coppola and McLeod presenting a vertical retrospective tasting of Rubicon. He was also 2009 Wine Enthusiast winemaker of the Year as he has impressive bona fides. I enjoyed catching up with McLeod at Sullivan this spring to sample the first vintage of wines he made for the winery. And it was certainly great timing as 2012 will be remembered as one of the best vintages of the past decade. This wine is quite special and is elegant, suave and lush. It’s obviously still a baby and deserves more cellaring for maximum enjoyment as this wine will drink quite beautifully for many more years. A beautifully presented and expressive nose of black cherry, plum, and black raspberry with violets and blueberries. The taste profile is stylized, voluptuous and layered with crème de cassis, black raspberry, chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla. Plump with smooth tannins and a pleasing finish. It should age beautifully for another 5 to 10 years. On my last visit to San Francisco I had the pleasure of dining at Tyler Florence’s Wayfarer Tavern on Sacramento Street and this pretty wine will pair with many of their signature dishes including: American Kobe Steak Tartare, Mustard Grilled Hangar Steak, Braised Short Ribs with Cippolini Onion and the Wayfarer Burger with Marin Brie and Smoked Bacon.
By Sullivan Vineyards
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Harvest Dates: October 2-October 10
Blend: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot
Cases Produced: 2000 Cases
Suggested Retail Price: $70.00
2012 will be remembered as one of the best ever for Napa Valley, and recalled the classic vintages that built Napa’s world class reputation. Summer and fall brought warm temperatures, but no heat waves, and a return to the classic Valley diurnal cycle. The results were moderate alcohol and crisp acidity with deep, rich color saturation and intense tannins, inviting comparisons with 2001, 2002 and 2007, but at record crop levels.
The 2012 vintage presents with black and inky purple hues. Deeply concentrated with bright fruit aromas and a hint of vanilla. The palate is full and rich with flavors of cherries, cassis, and raspberries with alluring spice notes and a juicy sweetness that lingers on the palate. This wine is well structured with smooth round tannins that allows this wine to be enjoyed now and will continue to evolve with additional time in the cellar.
[Info provided by J.H.N.]
*Jonathan Newman was Wine Enthusiasts’ Man of the Year. He also was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and received national recognition in Marvin Shanken’s Market Watch Magazine and many other international wine publications. He was also awarded the Guild of Sommeliers highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Newman's reviews have been published and quoted extensively online and in print. He travels extensively to many of the major wine growing regions and evaluates many of the wines we source from smaller and boutique wineries. We interact closely with him and the result is his rejection rate of over 96% of the wines evaluated.