“A tight and linear red with blackberry and chocolate character. Full body and firm tannins and a flavorful finish. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, petit verdot, cabernet franc and merlot. Beautiful now but better in 2020.”
93 Points, James Suckling
Our 2014 Winemaker’s Reserve Red Wine is the perfect blend to showcase the deeply concentrated, complex wines of a wonderful vintage. This deep crimson-hued Bordeaux-style blend bursts with expressive aromas of rhubarb, rustic cherry and Christmas spice-cake aromas. Underlying the bright fruits is a subtle smoked meatiness, reminiscent of prosciutto-wrapped fresh figs. On the palate the blend mixes both dark and red berry notes, creating a pleasing mouthfeel with hints of delicate young rose perfume and dusty tannins that dance across your palate on the lengthy finish.
Vintage and Winemaking Notes
Dry, early and shaking is how 2014 will be remembered in Napa Valley, yet it had a silver lining with small, concentrated berries and high quality. February’s rains brought the total rainfall from low to adequate and helped relieve three years of drought conditions. Warm temperatures promoted early budbreak and accelerated grape maturation. Just as harvest began, a dramatic 6.0 earthquake shook Napa Valley awake on August 24; Provenance was fortunate to come through unscathed. We finished the very compact, plentiful harvest by mid-October and celebrated the vintage’s “ripened-to-perfection” grapes.
Each grape variety was grown in the specific mesoclimate and soils of Napa Valley where it was able to achieve its most outstanding characteristic. A significant portion of the wine was grown on our estate vineyards. The Cabernet Sauvignon came from the St. Helena, Rutherford and Yountville AVAs; Merlot from the Oakville and Los Carneros AVAs; Cabernet Franc from the Calistoga AVA; Malbec from the Mt. Veeder AVA; and Petit Verdot from the Rutherford AVA.
After hand-harvesting the fruit and then hand-sorting it twice at the winery, we gently destemmed the grapes to retain at least 60 percent whole berries. Three days of cold-soaking before fermentation gently extracted the deep purple color and rich varietal flavors from the skins. A portion of the wine was fermented in barrels, with the balance in stainless steel to enhance the plush texture of the wine and integrate fruit and oak character. Following fermentation, extended skin contact, and gentle pressing, the wine completed malolactic fermentation in barrels to round out the acidity. Aging in French oak barrels wove toasty oak tones through the dark-fruit character.
Provenance Vineyards is a leader in the renaissance of Rutherford, Napa Valley winemaking, known for crafting small-lot Bordeaux varietal wines from the unique personalities of Napa Valley’s most renown vineyards. Being a “Bordeaux House”, our wines are made from the traditional grape varieties originating from Bordeaux, France, which include; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Most of our wines are sourced from our Estate Vineyards in the heart of the Napa Valley in Rutherford.
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IA, KS, ME, MD, MA, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NY, NC, ND, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI
Fun fact: I spent a summer when I was 22 working in the tasting room at Provenance. (And in an unrelated coincidence, my dad is actually the one who named it Provenance, way back when it was created under Chalone)
This combines all five red Bordeaux varieties, with Cabernet Sauvignon dominant at 48% and Cabernet Franc close behind at 24%. Juicy, approachable and round, it has strong present tannins and an intensity of oak, tobacco and cedar. VB 11/1/18
Thanksgiving week - with its oodles of Pinot Noir- and Chardonnay-friendly Turkey in every form and usual sides - is a tough time to take on a big Bordeaux blend, but someone has to do the tough jobs…
So, on Friday last, rpm, SWMBO, and BlndBmb8 (aka daughter #1 who has been tasting forever - we have a picture from her first birthday of her pulling a champagne bottle out of a wine rack…) stood to our glasses and modified Davis scoresheets to do our duty for our Casemates.
Our approach was typical: Around midday, I pulled the cork and put an ounce or so into each glass for an initial impression. Based on that, I decanted the rest of the bottle and we let it sit for between an hour and an hour and a half while we engaged in other activities. We then tasted again for score. Then had some with turkey leftovers.
The rest of the bottle sat in the decanter overnight and SWMBO and I had it with turkey leftovers the following evening (BlndBmb8 had already headed home).
Enough with the story, already, I hear you scream, tell us about the wine!
Initial Impression upon opening:
NOTE: these notes/impressions were made without discussion and without reading the label re blend/alcohol contact.
rpm clear, not brilliantly clear
SWMBO good, could be clearer
BlndBmb8 no specific note
rpm Characteristic for Cab, medium depth
BlndBmb8 no specific note
Aroma and Bouquet
rpm hot nose, berries (not specific) and currants, substantial vanillin (‘oaky’)
rpm acid seems a little high
SWMBO ok, good balance
SWMBO too fruity/jammy
BlndBmb8 no specific notee
SWMBO no specific note
BlndBmb8 full, fills the mouth, long finish
rpm woody, underlying fruit not differentiated, you can taste the alcohol
SWMBO alcohol dominates
BlndBmb8 fruit becomes overwhelmed by oak and alcohol
SWMBO no specific note
rpm OK, finish medium
SWMBO probably better in an hour
BlndBmb8 yes (to ‘is tannin level appropriate?’)
rpm clearly very closed, needs to open Decant!
SWMBO too closed to tell
BlndBmb8 too closed - did not enjoy
OK, now you can see why we decanted…
An Hour Later:
For brevity, I’m only noting the changes in evaluation
Aroma and Bouquet
rpm more currant and berry fruit. very (but not over) ripe, still a little hot but much better, less noticable vanillin (oak) - mostly at back
SWMBO good nose/nice fruit balance/nice mustiness,
BlndBmb8 less dominated by alcohol and vanilla, still cherry, currant
rpm now appropriate, not bitter
rpm seems fuller than medium, not really “full” to me
rpm fruit more prominent, berries (undifferentiated) predominate, but some currant. oak much less pronounced on the back of the palate
SWMBO alcohol dissipated after an hour, flavors ‘typical’
BlndBmb8 muting of alcohol and oak food wine
rpm finish now medium long, appropriate level of tannin detectable no oak no long dominates.
SWMBO yes, was better an hour later.
rpm a solid wine, good Bordeaux blend, definitely a food wine.
BlndBmb8 did not enjoy.
Scoring: rpm was the only one to give a numerical Davis score:
Appearance 1-1/2 (2 possible)
Color 1-1/2 (2 possible)
Aroma and Bouquet 4 (6 possible)
Total acidity 2 (2 possible)
Sweetness 1 (1 possible
Body 1 (1 possible)
Flavor 1-1/2 (2 possible)
Bitterness 1 (1 possible)
Astringency 1 (1 possible)
General quality 1 (2 possible)
Total Score 15-1/2 (20 possible)
Superior: 17-20 (wines above 18 are uncommon)
Standard: 13-16 (most quality wines fall within)
Standard: 9-12 (still sound commercial wine, but not very interesting.
Unacceptable: Below 9 (usually serious flaws or spoiled)
After the wine was decanted and open for an hour, I liked it considerably better than SWMBO or BlndBmb8.
SWMBO generally prefers Pinot Noir to Cabernet and dislikes very big Cabernet/Cabernet blend wines, especially if hot. Likes mature Cabernet made in (e.g.) Corison style or St. Julien or St. Estephe in Bordeaux.
BlndBmb8 likes Cabernet, but prefers a lighter, or better yet, leaner style. Likes Pauillac in Bordeaux.
I thought the wine worked well after 1-1/2 hours with my leftover turkey late lunch.
Even better, after about 30 hours, when I had the rest of the bottle with more turkey leftovers on Saturday evening, the tannins had nicely smoothed and the high alcohol was barely noticeable. Fruit was still very ripe, but it was enjoyable. If you like big wines and you like Cabernet, you’ll probably like this.
I think it is imperative to decant this wine; I would give it at least 2, preferably 3 hours in a decanter before serving. Your patience will be rewarded
Would I buy it? Probably not, but then: (1) I have quite a bit of mature and maturing Cabernet/Bordeaux blends (that I know SWMBO and BlndBmb8 will like) in my cellar for drinking at least through 2030 and (2) I rarely drink Cabernet/Bordeaux blends under the age of 10 in any event.
At the case price, this is a decent deal, IMHO for those who want a good, solid Napa Cab/Bordeaux blend to drink with food that needs a full bodied red to stand up to it. With decanting, the flavors are right and it works well with food.
Sorry I’m a bit late to post this, but better late than never, right?
Got the opportunity to be a lab rat for this one, although I feel a bit out of my league. My girlfriend and I have zero experience writing any kind of wine reviews and very little actual knowledge about wine, we just like drinking it. So let’s have some fun…
We were unfamiliar with the vineyard, so we went ahead and looked it up on google. Seems to be well liked overall, although there are not too many reviews available for this particular red blend. In general, I do like red blends when they’re done well to play off different strengths of different varietals. Based on the list price of a bottle this is probably cost prohibitive for me most of the time, so I am glad I’m getting the chance to try one for free. My interest is piqued.
The label is no-nonsense, which is the opposite of what I normally end up purchasing, but it has a twist off cap, so I know this wine knows how to party. I’m down.
We opened up the bottle and poured a couple glasses through an aerator to drink while we made dinner.
Relatively strong alcohol smell right out of the bottle. Once that cleared, it was a clean scent, complex, lots of different notes, difficult to distinguish as an amateur.
Fairly light taste, medium body, very smooth finish. Earthy, oakey flavors. We drink a lot of bourbon, and this had some notes that reminded us of that.
No real distinct fruits that we could identify. Seems pretty unique.
After cooking, we poured a second glass to have with dinner. We were having Korean BBQ pork bowls, and this wine was a great match. It had enough flavor to keep up with the spicy BBQ sauce, but was not too overpowering for the veggies on the sides.
The second pour was probably about an hour or so after initially opening the bottle, and the initial alcohol aroma had calmed down a bit. The second glass went down much quicker than the first, and the finish remained smooth. There was very little lingering taste from the wine and it was great for cleaning the palette after eating.
Final Round / Final Thoughts
We cleaned up our dishes, and poured the rest of the bottle as we sat down to watch some TV after dinner. Glass #3 went down probably a bit too quickly as we were just sitting on the couch. Three glasses in and I’m feeling warm and happy. I could drink this wine all night.
Overall, I enjoyed the bottle. After reading the other lab rat report above, I think we probably could have done better decanting this bottle a bit longer, but hey, that’s our inexperience showing. This is a very versatile wine that would be a good match for a lot of different situations.
Would I buy it?
Probably not at the 2 bottle price, but it is something I would keep my eyes on in the future.
I’ve got a pretty big stash to work though right now, and at this price point, this is not something I want to just add to the pile.
If I had a special occasion planned or needed a wine to take to a dinner party, this would be a good option.
That being said - if anyone in the Chicago area wants to split a case a few ways, I would be down to grab a few bottles.
Everyone on the '18 tour received a wheel, and, iirc, she also has some informative tutorials online on the how/why of her wine wheel.
Well done rpm. Is there a source for additional information about the ‘modified’ Davis method?
I want these, but this is bad timing. I’m supposed to be Christmas gift shopping, not buying gifts for myself. As such, I shall sit on my hands until the offer rolls over and hope that @winedavid49 can make them reappear in the spring. I’m terrible at this self-control thing.