HERE’S MORE JOY from the glorious 2012 vintage in California: The Napa Valley and Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignons from Louis M. Martini — wines that so reflect their glorious roots but amplified and even more refined and powerful. In the words of third-generation winemaker Michael Martini of Louis M. Martini, “since taking the reins … in 1977, I have seen few vintages as exceptional as 2012… I just call it a winemaking gift.”
Louis M. Martini is a rock-solid brand from Cali’s high-rent grape-growing districts. Somehow, they keep prices under control.
Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2012, $38: The wine is phenomenal; the price is too. The 2012 vintage was one of the best in most vintner’s minds, including Michael Martini. This Napa Valley Cab is pristine. It has intense aromas of dark berries, smoky cedar and dried herbs chased by flavors of black cherry, blackberry, dark chocolate, espresso and licorice. Tannins are fine-grained and cling to the palate; acidity is sturdy. It’s braced with small amounts of Petite Verdot and Petite Sirah to soften the tannins of the Cabernet. Alcohol is a manageable 14.4 percent. It’s aged in a mix of French, American and Hungarian oak with medium to heavy toast for 15 months. It’s a wine experience.
Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2012, $34: This beauty from Sonoma’s Alexander Valley is young and built like a tank: It’s all muscle and tightly wound but still accessible. The fruit is intense blackberry, black cherry and plum infused with notes of cedar, dried herbs and licorice — all wrapped up in rich tannins and bound by sturdy acidity. Grapes are off four top Sonoma vineyards: Barrelli Creek Ranch, Timber Crest, Scherrer and Monte Rosso. Oak barrels are a mix of French, American and Hungarian. It’s aged 14 months. The wine is 89 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 11 percent Merlot.
You can reach Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@Hotmail.com.