Lineage Livermore Valley 2010
94 points | 120 cases made | Red
The riveting aromas of cassis, blackberry, mocha and chocolate brownie are dense and complex, unfolding in tiers. Yet for all the richness and depth of flavor here, this retains a measure of grace and finesse, carrying the flavors a long way. About as good as California Cabernet gets from an underappreciated region. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink now through 2028. From California.—J.L.
LINEAGE|Livermore Valley aspires to be one of the truly great Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines in the world. This singular wine is the marriage of the Grand Cru quality of the Livermore Valley’s finest vineyards and the vision of sixth-generation winemaker, Steven Mirassou. A blend of the classic Bordeaux varieties, LINEAGE is a wine of profound beauty and elegance.
The 2010 vintage is our fourth LINEAGE release. We chose only the six barrels we deemed of truly superior potential to be included in this offering, in the process, declassifying more than 95% of our Bordeaux-varietal production. 2010 was a difficult year with cooler-than-average temperatures and significant rainfall leading into the harvest in mid-October. Though yields were down in nearly every one of our Cabernet Sauvignon blocks, spectacular quality was achieved in the Clone 30 at Ghielmetti Estate, Clone 7 at Home Ranch, and Clone 8 at the Smith Ranch vineyards. Both Cabernet Franc and Merlot take on significant roles in this vintage while Petit Verdot and Malbec add complexity and structure. The first evaluative tastings were conducted after malolactic fermentation in April 2011, and the final assemblage was decided upon in March 2012.
In keeping with the vintage, LINEAGE displays great restraint in the nose in its youth. Cassis, fennel pollen, lead pencil and coffee notes dominate. On entry, nicely integrated barrel notes undergird rich fruit flavors. The wine blossoms in the mid-palate as freshening acidity thrusts fruit, tannin, and toasted oak forward and carries these balancing characteristics on to a long finish. The overall feel of LINEAGE is one of beauty and elegance. There is the tannic structure present to guarantee long aging, but sheer power never trumps the wine’s more lithe and vital core. Each varietal component was vinified separately, blended and re-barreled for 10 months before bottling in January 2013. Drink from 2016 — 2026.
Harvest Dates: October 27 – November 17,2010
Cépage: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon (Clones 30, 7, & 8); 16% Cabernet Franc; 15% Merlot; 3% Petit Verdot; 1% Malbec — Harvested from the Ghielmetti Estate, Home Ranch, and Smith Ranch Vineyards in the Livermore Valley. Alcohol 14.3%.
Fermentation: After destemming and crushing, each varietal was fermented separately in 1.7 ton open-topped fermenters. Fermentation and extended maceration lasted from two to four weeks. Malo-lactic conversion was induced in barrel.
Aging: Five of the six barrels included in this blend were new French oak (Taransaud, Le Grand, and François Frerès among others). We believe that Cabernet Franc more completely shows its organoleptic complexity in second-use barrels so a 2008 Le Grande Rive Gauche barrel was used for this grape. In March 2012, the final assemblage was made and returned to barrel until bottling in January 2013.
Time in Barrel: 26 months ? Bottling Date: January 22, 2013 ? Release Date: October 4, 2013
Bottles Produced l Vintage 2010: 1,446 bottles, 60 magnums, 5 double-magnums, and 5 five-liters.