GO­ING BACK TO CALI

The 2012 vin­tage could be one of the best in decades for top Napa Val­ley es­tates, which pro­duced reds of great pu­rity and clar­ity with struc­ture and fi­nesse. As well as the in­ten­sity of fruit ex­pected in a top year, the wines dis­play the unique char­ac­ter

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BOND NAPA VAL­LEY MEL­BURY 2012

This is my favourite sin­gle-vine­yard wine of the vin­tage for Bond. So much ter­ra­cotta and plum char­ac­ter. It’s full-bod­ied, with su­per fresh­ness and bal­ance. Vi­brant. Tin­gling. From a spe­cial hill­side vine­yard with clay soil. Hard not to drink now. 99 points

COL­GIN IX ES­TATE NAPA VAL­LEY 2012

Fab­u­lous in­ten­sity and en­ergy, and so com­plex, with wet earth, vi­o­let, black­cur­rant, black olive, sweet to­bacco and black­berry. Give it un­til 2019 to soften. 98 points

DI­A­MOND CREEK CABER­NET SAU­VI­GNON NAPA VAL­LEY RED ROCK TER­RACE 2012

The es­tate’s great­est red ever? Im­pres­sive aro­mas of clay, dust and blue­berry. Lots of black­cur­rant, too. Pure fruit. Full body, vel­vety and soft, cash­mere-tex­tured tan­nins. Try in 2020. 99 points

HAR­LAN ES­TATE NAPA VAL­LEY 2012

Fan­tas­tic char­ac­ter of laven­der, vi­o­let and dark fruit fol­lows through to ul­tra-fine tan­nins and a dense, rich fruit fin­ish. Tightly wound and beau­ti­fully bal­anced. Mus­cu­lar. Try in 2020. 98 points

OPUS ONE NAPA VAL­LEY 2012

One of the most ex­cit­ing ever from Opus. So much char­ac­ter, with black­cur­rant, blue­berry, dark choco­late and for­est flower. A full body with seam­less tan­nins. Oc­to­ber re­lease. 97 points

DOMI­NUS ES­TATE NAPA VAL­LEY 2012

An ex­cit­ing Domi­nus, with clar­ity of fruit and soil on the nose and palate. Lots of black­cur­rant, black­berry, vi­o­let and stone. Full body with big, soft tan­nins and choco­late, hazel­nut and dark fruit char­ac­ter. Try in 2020. 98 points

PETER MICHAEL OAKVILLE NAPA VAL­LEY AU PAR­ADIS 2012

A rel­a­tively new ad­di­tion to the Peter Michael range and made from a sin­gle vine­yard in the heart of the Napa Val­ley. Phe­nom­e­nal aro­mas of dust, rust, black­berry, cur­rants and dried berries. Spices such as nut­meg and cloves. Stun­ning. Try in 2018. 98 points

ARAUJO ES­TATE CABER­NET SAU­VI­GNON NAPA VAL­LEY EISELE VINE­YARD 2012

This is the first hands-on vin­tage for the own­ers of Château La­tour, and their pre­ci­sion wine­mak­ing comes through. A pure caber­net sau­vi­gnon joy, with black fruit, sage and spearmint. Full body with com­pressed tan­nins. Bet­ter in 2018. 98 points

DANA ES­TATES CABER­NET SAU­VI­GNON RUTHER­FORD NAPA VAL­LEY HELMS VINE­YARD 2012

Ex­tra­or­di­nary aro­mas of metal shav­ings, black­cur­rant and hazel­nut that turn to rose and vi­o­let. Full body, sexy and el­e­gant. A tri­umph. Try in 2019 but hard not to drink now. Septem­ber re­lease. 99 points

SCREAM­ING EA­GLE CABER­NET SAU­VI­GNON NAPA VAL­LEY 2012

A com­bi­na­tion of deca­dence and ex­ac­ti­tude. Shows in­cred­i­ble pu­rity of fruit, with laven­der, sage and black­cur­rant char­ac­ter. Full-bod­ied and struc­tured, it’s a new bench­mark for mod­ern Napa cabs. 100 points

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