Bond St. Eden (inquire) 2018
A bonafide smorgasbord-like array of ripe black cherry and blueberry fruits, chocolate, cedar pencil shavings, spice cabinet, and violets emerge from the 2018 St. Eden, a deep, rich, profound 2019 that unquestionably ranks with the top wines in the vintage. With full-bodied richness, it has beautiful mid-palate density and depth of the vintage while staying light on its feet, balanced, and lengthy. The tannins emerge with extended time in the glass, and it will benefit from 4-6 years of bottle age and no doubt keep for 30 years if stored properly. This comes from a slightly cooler terroir of red, volcanic soils and spent 28 months in roughly 40% to 60% new French oak.
A barrel sample, the 2018 St. Eden is deep garnet-purple in color. The nose is a little closed at this nascent stage, offering broody glimpses at blackcurrant jelly, boysenberries and black raspberries before opening out to a spicy undercurrent of cloves, black pepper and cumin seed. The palate is built like a brick house with a solid structure of ripe, grainy tannins and a lively backbone framing the full-bodied, muscular fruit, finishing long and layered.
The 2018 St. Eden is impressive. Dense and powerful in the glass, the 2018 is done in a style that emphasizes freshness and vibrancy, reflecting a generational transition in all of these wines that is most apparent here. Dark fruit, licorice, mocha, spice and chocolate begin to emerge with time, but the St. Eden is much less forthcoming than in the past. In fact, the 2018 might very well be the most reticent St. Eden I have ever tasted. That energy will serve it well in the cellar. Readers accustomed to the voluptuous, lush St. Edens of the past will not find that in the 2018. As much as the style has changed in this wine, I am not surprised to see that. A complete vertical of the Bond wines a few years ago showed the St. Eden to have the most condensed arc of peak drinkability of the Bond wines.
Leads with singed alder and warm earth, followed by a dense core of steeped plum and black currant fruit. Reveals cedar and tobacco notes that assert themselves on the finish, ending with a grippy edge. This has the youthfully backward and terroir-driven persona of the vintage in spades. Built for cellaring and for fans of the muscular style. Best from 2024 through 2040.