- Reviewed by:
- Lisa Perrotti-Brown
- Release Price:
- Drink Date:
- 2020 - 2045
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Las Posadas Proprietary Red opens with tons of wild blueberry, mulberries and cassis notes over garrigue, sage, baking spices and dusty soil plus touches of Black Forest cake and cedar. The rich, full-bodied palate is rugged, muscular, lively and concentrated with firm, grainy tannins, finishing very long and earthy.
As Abreu releases late, these 2014s are their current releases. I will be heading back within the next month to preview the upcoming releases. "We’re a complete circle as a company—we own our vineyards and cellar,” winemaker Brad Grimes pointed out during my visit. “We’re in complete control. And because we are a vineyard management company, we don’t have to make phone calls to activate people.” I don't need to tell followers of this estate that David Abreu is a legend in his own time when it comes to vineyard management. His own wines deliver his expert take on what some of the most evocative sites in Napa have to give and it is doubtful that truer terroir wines are made in the valley than these.
The four vineyards that David Abreu owns include one of the oldest in St. Helena, the Cappella, which is a six-acre site alongside a Catholic cemetery on the west side of town. The Madrona Ranch, which is his first, his homestead, and the core of the Abreu philosophy, is planted on volcanic white tufa and red aiken soils. It represents the lower hillsides of Spring Mountain, tucked behind and northwest of St. Helena. This is a fabulous site. The Howell Mountain vineyard, of course, sits on that AVA, overlooking Napa Valley. It is at a 2,000-foot elevation, well above the fog line in Napa, and sits on classic red aiken soils interspersed with the volcanic white tufa. The Thorevilos Vineyard, which seems to produce some of the most singular wines anywhere in the world, doesn’t even have its own AVA, but is sandwiched between those of St. Helena and Howell Mountain. David Abreu co-owns this hillside vineyard with Ric Forman. The wines that emerge from here are extraordinary, and the vineyard itself would look like a clos in Burgundy if it had walls around it rather than evergreens. Abreu’s wines reflect his belief in the future of Cabernet Franc and have moved to basically proprietary blends. Cabernet Sauvignon still dominates all of his vineyard wines, but the percentage of Cabernet Franc can be as high as 33 to 35-plus percent, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon as well as some Petit Verdot. (Very little Merlot is used in any of the Abreu wines.) For the most part, the wines spend a good 24-plus months in 100% new oak and are bottled without fining or filtration. Abreu has long worked with his assistant, Brad Grimes, a former chef who has a Midas touch not only with cuisine, but with viticulture and winemaking as well. What I still find fascinating about David Abreu is that he only makes between 250 and 350 cases of each of his four separate vineyard-designated wines, as he still sells fruit to other high-quality wineries, most notably Colgin for their Cariad. I have tasted 15 vintages of Abreu’s Thorevilos, and five of them deserve a perfect score. In short, they are that amazing. (And that for a vineyard sandwiched between St. Helena and Howell Mountain that is not entitled to any specific AVA.) The Thorevilos includes considerable Cabernet Franc, probably 25-30% or more, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and possibly a touch of Petit Verdot. It is one of the most singular wines from Northern California, with an incredible nose of violets and acacia flowers, blueberries, black raspberries and blackberries. A minerality also runs through this wine that I find stronger and more intense than the other cuvées from Abreu. It is sensationally concentrated, vibrant, super-complex, and really unlike any other wine I have tasted in the world. It’s hard to compare it with any Bordeaux or with any other Napa Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated wine, even any of the other three single-vineyard wines from Abreu. Tel. (707) 963-7487
Is anyone anywhere in the world making more consistently profound wines than the famous viticulturalist David Abreu and his long-time sidekick and assistant, former chef Brad Grimes? Working from relatively small sites, two of them adjacent to the back streets of St. Helena (the six-acre Cappella Vineyard alongside a cemetery and the home estate of Madrona Ranch at the base of Spring Mountain) to the co-owned vineyard with Ric Forman, the magnificent Thorevilos Vineyard behind the Meadowood Resort. There is also his own 2,000-foot elevation site on Howell Mountain. These wines are all proprietary reds, probably containing at least 60-65% Cabernet Sauvignon, the rest largely Cabernet Franc with a little Petit Verdot and occasionally tiny amounts of Merlot. They spend a full two years in 100% new French oak and are bottled without any fining or filtration. They are exquisite examples of Bordeaux blends that are true first growths in every sense. So how do I go about describing these wines, which are so exciting and satisfying on both hedonistic and intellectual levels?
Published: Oct 29, 2018