Poured Per­fec­tion

Talk about rare f ind— in­tro­duc­ing the 100- point Cabernet Sauvignon.


Roberto Viernes' roundup of 100-point bot­tles

WHAT COULD BE MANLIER THAN FREE DIV­ING WITH KILLER WHALES? HOW ABOUT CRACK­ING A Louisville Slug­ger in half over your head? Or wrestling a salmon from the maw of a bear would pretty al­pha, if you will. But I' ll tell what is truly manly—a 100-point wine. A per­fect score for a wine is ut­terly rare, and when a wine is given such an ac­co­lade, the ex­pe­ri­ence is what mas­cu­line dreams are made of.

One hun­dred points for a wine means it is sheer per­fec­tion. It can't get any bet­ter. It is per­haps the finest ex­am­ple of its kind. You may find this idea a bit sub­jec­tive but it is the Holy Grail for many wine­mak­ers and cer­tainly for wine drinkers the world over. Crit­ics spend years, decades even, tast­ing the same wines to be able to gauge the qual­ity level of the wine from year to year. Not only does the wine need to taste good, but it also must be age-wor­thy, have va­ri­etal cor­rect­ness and, in ev­ery case, have a seam­less qual­ity level that shows above and beyond oth­ers in its same class. Some wine­mak­ers will tell you that rat­ings mat­ter not. But when you speak to vir­tu­ally any wine con­sumer, a 100-point rat­ing from any critic is the most im­pres­sive badge of qual­ity in the busi­ness. I have been quite for­tu­nate to be able to taste, no, ac­tu­ally drink three dif­fer­ent 100-point rated wines re­cently. And let me tell you that each one was noth­ing short of an ex­trav­a­gant and he­do­nis­tic ex­pe­ri­ence.

No other va­ri­ety has re­ceived as many 100-point rat­ings as Cabernet Sauvignon. So it is no sur­prise that two of these three are Cabernet Sau­vi­gnons. Some would ar­gue that Cabernet Sauvignon is ‘King' of all grapes, and if price in the mar­ket has any­thing to say about it, the most ex­pen­sive bot­tle pro­duced in the U.S. is a Cabernet Sauvignon (Scream­ing Ea­gle). The first is the much-revered 2013 Opus One from Napa Val­ley. With a 100 Points rat­ing from James Suck­ling, this is the first three-digit rat­ing for the es­tate since its in­cep­tion and well-de­served. The first time I tasted this wine it be­fore it was re­leased, and I was im­me­di­ately taken aback by how sul­try and vel­vety its struc­ture was and is. The blend for the 2013 is 79 per­cent Cabernet Sauvignon, seven per­cent Cabernet Franc, six per­cent Mer­lot, six per­cent Pe­tit Ver­dot and two per­cent Mal­bec—a truly Bordeaux-style blend. This most re­cent bot­tle is an ab­so­lute thing of beauty. It comes at you like a chis­eled prizefighter in the ring, not

with ag­gres­sion but with pre­ci­sion and skill. Gor­geous blue and black­ber­ries waft from the glass folded to­gether with sweet vanilla and co­coa pow­der, cin­na­mon and clove hit your nose just be­fore you take a sip. And in that sip lie waves of cas­sis, black plums, bram­ble­berry, caramel, vanilla, toast and a hint of smoke. It is in­tense and full-bod­ied but does not feel overly heavy. Th e tan­nin is per­fectly bal­anced and leaves a vel­vety coat on your palate while the af­ter­taste glows on. This wine will age eas­ily for a dozen years and more.

The sec­ond is the 2013 Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon from Mt. Veeder, which re­ceived 100 Points from the Wine Ad­vo­cate. The 100-per­cent pure Cabernet Sauvignon needs plenty of air. De­cant this big boy at least an hour be­fore serving. This wine is like a 1000bhp en­gine car just ready to scream down the road. It is a heavy­weight puncher with big tan­nins but backed up with loads and loads of creamy black fruit fla­vors. There is pome­gran­ate, al­most a hint of licorice and bit­ter co­coa nibs here as well. As large as this wine is, the acid­ity al­lows it to also be re­fresh­ing so you can have more than just a glass. This wine is so in­tense and seam­less that it will defy time. I would not be sur­prised if it lasts for 30 years or more. This is noth­ing short of a WOW-wine! And it is still a baby.

Th e third of the trio is a very unique Cabernet Franc based blend from Sonoma County. Th e 2012 Verite ‘ Le De­sir' re­ceived 100 Points the Wine Ad­vo­cate. Its ex­act blend is 64 per­cent Cabernet Franc, 24 per­cent Mer­lot, eight per­cent Cabernet Sauvignon and four per­cent Mal­bec. I ab­so­lutely went bonkers for this wine. It has a stun­ning and haunt­ing aroma of sweet fruit laced with a lightly sa­vory note akin to sweet flow­ers and herbs, per­haps laven­der and pot­pourri. Notes of wet stone, graphite, cof­fee grounds and sweet baked vanillin come next which lead into a palate that has not only fab­u­lous fl avors but a dis­tinct en­ergy that be­lies its age abil­ity. Th e struc­ture and weight are firm and full but never bit­ter or harsh. Th e com­plex­ity in this wine is truly im­pres­sive and I think it will be an­other 15 years be­fore it even hits its stride.

You don't have to walk bare­foot over lava or surf a 50-foot wave to be manly. Put on your big boy pants, pull out your best de­can­ter and red wine glasses and try a three-digit rated red wine. Pour your­self a glass and get ready for a great ride.


Opus One Winer y, Lokoya Winer y and Vérité Winer y, all in Napa Val­ley, have earned 100 point s f or t heir Cabernet Sauvignon ( pho t os c our­tesy Lokoya).

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