View all vintages of Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet SauvignonCabernet Sauvignon from unique vineyards from within one of the world's premier growing regions.
From a single Napa appellation bottling in 2002, the Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon program has grown into a single-vineyard program that includes Panek Vineyard (St. Helena, 2009), Lore Vineyard (Oakville, 2013) & Larkmead / Calistoga (Calistoga, 2012).
2017 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon
14.4% alcohol per volumeThe composition of our 2017 Napa appellation wine is a skinnier version of the 2016: clone 4 from Panek, a small upper block of Lore and two blocks from Kennedy Vineyard on Franz Valley School Road in Calistoga. Kennedy was good enough to bottle on its own but with our future there lacking certainty, it made sense to drop it into the Napa. Once again, this bottling gives good insight into how the upvalley fared in 2017. By combining Oakville, St. Helena and Calistoga, we also were able to feature earlier ripening AVAs that are more accustomed to handling the intense heat of Napa’s summer. These two attributes proved to be the perfect combo in this vintage. The wine comes across as more savory than sweet showing notes of gravel, graphite, crushed rock, sage and black fruits. There’s good extract to the wine which gives it a bone dry quality. The barrel program is nicely integrated and sweet oak tannin helps give the wine some generosity.
2017 Rivers-Marie Panek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
14.5% alcohol per volumePanek Vineyard’s early ripening nature was a blessing in 2017. All 5 blocks we work with achieved full ripeness giving us quite a bit to choose from in this vintage. That coupled with continually improving farming gave us more quantity than we hoped for pre-harvest. We harvest clones 169, 7, 337, 4 and 6 from Panek and in the past there were a few blocks that never were considered for the finished blend. In 2017, we could have put it all in and been extremely happy with the result. Knowing the vintage’s reputation, we choose to be a little more selective and used parts of the 169, 7 and for the first time ever 337. That block continues to make incredible leaps forward producing what looks to be our best block of Panek in 2018. This edition comes across as a mix of everything that preceded it. There’s good red/black/blue fruit sweetness, a nice caramelized brown sugar component, wet stones, violets and smoke. This like the Napa, has a little bit of an old school feel with some savory notes of sage, liquid minerals and roasted meats. It is a difficult vintage to name check but we like the completeness and drinkability of this wine just as we did with the 2011 version, another challenging year where this site shined.
2017 Rivers-Marie Lore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
14.6% alcohol per volumeComing in at 2.25 tons off of two acres, there isn’t much of this to go around. That fact plus the recent track record of this bottling leads us to expect the 2017 Lore to sell out faster than any Cabernet we have ever relesased. Of all the wines across all the projects, this might be the closest thing to its 2016 edition. Its brooding black-fruited minerality belies the vintage. There’s a density and power here that could be confused with 2013. The yield without question contributed to this. The quality of farming here too has improved with healthier canopies allowing this vineyard to survive the afternoon sun it is routinely subjected to. Grab this while it lasts and know if you miss out, more is coming in 2018.
2016 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon
14.4% alcohol per volumeThe composition of our 2016 Napa appellation wine is very similar to the 2015 version: clones 4 and 6 from Panek, the lower block of Lore, Pellet Vineyard in St Helena and two blocks from Kennedy Vineyard on Franz Valley School Road in Calistoga. Even with no Herb Lamb or Larkmead in the blend, the wine still provides an early drinking insight into the character of the four vineyard designated bottlings from 2016. If 2015 was defined by fruit sweetness, this vintage is framed by ripe tannin. The fruit is a bit darker as well, leaning toward black fruits and thus a more serious seeming offering. The various defining attributes of the vineyard sources pop up throughout while experiencing the wine. The abundant fruit and acid cut of Panek’s valley floor location, the all black fruit, crushed rock minerality of Lore’s east Oakville range, the loamy purple fruit of Pellet’s west St. Helena corridor and the blue fruited cool climate savory-ness of Kennedy’s western Calistoga siting. Completeness best describes the overall experience. Fruit, tannin and acidity all come in waves of equal proportion while the tasting experience follows seamlessly from start to finish.
2016 Rivers-Marie Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon
14.3% alcohol per volumeI love the old school Napa feel at the core of this wine. It smells and tastes like some of the great California wines from the 60s and 70s only with better farming and oak treatment. The first thing that greets you here is the savory character of the varietal. Due in equal parts to the greatness of the Larkmead site and the uniqueness of the Olmo clone, the modernness of the framing of this wine is meant only as a complement to its traditional center. Damp soil, bay leaves, black walnut and tobacco leaf begin the aromatic profile. Tasting it from tank a week before bottling, it reminded me of the mid-90s Araujo Eisele Vineyard wines. The palate takes on a dusty, minty character featuring plum, cedar and cassis. There’s a stuffing to this wine that has been lacking in years past. The vintage gets a lot of the credit for that. This is the new benchmark for our Calistoga bottling.
2016 Rivers-Marie Panek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
14.5% alcohol per volumeBetter informed farming continues to elevate not just the blocks in this bottling but also all the blocks we harvest at Panek. It makes our blending decisions more difficult each year but that extra work is certainly worth the extra quality in a wine like this 2016. The vineyard does best in muscular years so this version reminds me more of the 2013 as opposed to the 2014 or 2015. There’s more apparent fruit than in the 2013 to stand up to the structure of the vintage. This wine has calmed considerably during its last 6 or so months in barrel. It was a bit brooding for the first year of its life (odd for Panek) but that character only hinted at the concentration contained within. Now that it has unwound a bit, the trademark brown sugar note has emerged but here joined by a blackberry/cassis note. Loamy black soil, dried herbs and sweet tobacco complete the experience by adding a strong sense of varietal character to the mix, another hallmark of the vintage. This is a structured Panek for sure but with all other great 2016s, there is a sense of balance across all components of the wine that provides good early drinkability.
2016 Rivers-Marie Lore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
14.6% alcohol per volumeIf you were to buy only one bottling from the offering, this would be the wine. We started with this eastern Oakville site in 2013 and the wine has gotten better every year. So far we haven’t touched on the color of the vintage. 2016 is one of the darkest years we have ever seen, right there with 2007 and 2013. The 2016 Lore is at another level even in a dense vintage. The wine has a saturated black hue that extends all the way to the rim where it begrudgingly turns to dark garnet. The nose doesn't wait for you to lift the glass, it fills the room as the wine is poured. All the structure of the site is present even in the aromatic. Abundant fruit buffers the structure which is a bit of an anomaly in the vintage. We feel this fruit has always been possible and now with a better handle on the farming, we have unlocked its potential. This vintage at Lore was plentiful so we had the ability to ferment several blocks separately giving us more to blend with and the ability to declassify barrels into the Napa bottling. All palate descriptors center on the black-fruited nature of the wine, licorice, creosote, blackberries and crushed rock fill out the middle and the finish. We’ve said it before, we feel very fortunate to be leasing this site. If this wine is an indicator of future potential, we hope to be here for a long time.
2016 Rivers-Marie Herb Lamb Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
14.5% alcohol per volumeNew to our lineup but certainly not new to the legacy of Napa, we are excited to be starting this relationship in such a great vintage. This is one of those wines we knew was destined for greatness when we pressed it. It was intensely aromatic in fermenter and colored up quickly. The palate held quite a bit in reserve while first in barrel taking on more of a linear profile. The last six months in barrel, the wine grew broader, opening up to grilled meats, garrigue, underbrush and blueberries. There is an exotic floral note on the nose that hints at the vineyard’s base of Howell Mountain location. Framing acidity keeps the wine from ever growing tiresome despite its density. There’s nothing that tastes quite like this storied site and we hope to continue to preserve and further the legacy of what Herb and Jennifer Lamb have created here.