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The Lark, a wine that began as a barrel selection of our best lots in the cellar, has now evolved to what it was meant to be - a vineyard selection. The grapes that make up the Lark are from a singular parcel of sandy loam soil in the heart of forty-acres that gently slope down from highway 29 to the Napa River. Although these vines maintain an identical top soil profile throughout the parcel, there is an old, ancient riverbed beneath the surface that places the vines out of balance. We witness tremendous stress on the east side of the parcel as the vines are less vigorous and the yields are lower, thus the resulting wines are more tannic; On the west side canopies are plush, the vines are healthier and carry more fruit and the resulting wine is more dense and forward. When blended, the west side of the parcel offers up a tremendous amount of pleasure on the palate, while the east side brings a sweet black fruit and gravel note that ties it all together for an incredibly seductive finish. We couldn't have asked for a better vintage to re-introduced the lark after a two-year hiatus. Two thousand and twelve was a short, extremely warm growing season that produced wines of incredible luxury and hedonism. The dense layers of aromas sway from sweetbrier to spice box above candied cassis. With air the perfume remains warm and inviting, with a hint of dried flowers, fruits and herbs. Cedar wood rounds out the bouquet. On the palate the wine is incredibly lush; a textural character that is atypical of Larkmead but speaks to the character of the sandy soil in which the grapes are grown. Dark, black viscous fruit flavors coat the full-bodied palate coupled with melted milk-chocolate and dried-cherries. Hints of graphite and cranberry bring freshness to the finish that lingers on the palate for well over a minute.
The core flavors of the wine coupled with the vintage fingerprints has created one of the most alluring wines that Larkmead has ever bottled. There are incredible amounts of pleasure in each sip, especially as the wine presents layer after layer of delicious sweet fruit and savory notes. Even if the wine offers immense satisfaction while drinking young, the highly-integrated tannin structure will help the wine quietly age for two decades or more.
Wine AdvocateThere are 290 cases of the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the most expensive wine from Larkmead, the 2012 Proprietary Red The Lark. Coming from rocky soils, the wine displays wet rock-like minerality and flavors. Full-bodied with great texture, it is a dense, pure red offering blueberry and blackberry fruit intermixed with camphor and acacia flowers. This killer effort should drink well for 20-25 years.
Wine SpectatorA gorgeous Cabernet, plush, rich and layered, with excellent structure, acidity and tannins. The flavors of mocha, blackberry and wild berry are spot on, ripe and juicy, gaining dashes of espresso, loamy earth, cedar and cigar box on the long finish. Best from 2018 through 2030. 290 cases made.