Jeb Dunnuck’s Review – Vintage 2016
August 6, 2019
2016 Carte Blanche Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – 97 Points
A different beast, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) is more backward and reticent, and while it needs 4-5 years of bottle age, is packed with potential. Both black and blue fruits, earth, tobacco, and freshly crushed rock notes all flow to a full-bodied 2016 that has plenty of fine tannins, remarkable purity of fruit, and beautiful intensity and length. Do your best to give this some bottle age, and you’ll be rewarded with a phenomenal Napa Valley Cabernet that will keep for 2-3 decades.
2016 Carte Blanche Chardonnay, UV Vineyard, Sonoma Coast – 96 Points
From a great site on the Sonoma Coast, which is also known as the Laguna Vineyard, the 2016 Chardonnay UV Vineyard was barrel fermented and spent 16 months in 30% new French oak. This brilliant wine offers a medium gold color to go with rich, powerful notes of pineapple, crushed rocks, and brioche. It shows more and more minerality with time in the glass, has good acidity, and a concentrated, medium to full-bodied style that’s a joy to drink. It reminds me of a slightly Burgundian style Chardonnay from Mark Aubert.
2016 Carte Blanche Pinot Noir, Sun Chase Vineyard, Sonoma Coast – 95+ Points
As to the reds, the 2016 Pinot Noir Sun Chase Vineyard was mostly destemmed (there’s 30% stems) and spent 16 months in 40% new barrels. It’s another layered, rich, yet impeccably balanced wine and offers lots of red and black fruits, savory herbs, and earthy, forest floor-like nuances. Drink it over the coming decade or more.
2016 Carte Blanche Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley – 95 Points
Coming from Napa Valley, the 2016 Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot, all aged in new barrels. This cuvée is made with the idea to be slightly more accessible and offers a St. Emilion-like feel in its blue fruits, tobacco leaf, crushed rocks, and cedary, spice-laced aromas and flavors. It’s full-bodied, has a layered, balanced texture, and terrific tannin quality. It’s another powerful yet elegant wine from Keplinger.
Jeb Dunnuck’s Review – Vintage 2015
March 8, 2019
2015 Carte Blanche Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – 100 Points
Lastly, and pure perfection in the glass, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% varietal from two great sites: Missouri Hopper in Oakville and Las Posadas in Howell Mountain. Aged in 100% new French oak, it offers an incredible bouquet of crème de cassis, liquid rock, graphite, lead pencil shavings, and unsmoked tobacco, with searing minerality in the aromatics as well as on the palate. Offering full-bodied richness, terrific concentration, and building tannin, this backward, dense, yet perfectly balanced 2015 needs 4-5 years of cellaring and will impress for 2-3 decades. Bravo!
2015 Carte Blanche Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley – 98 Points
Leading off the 2015s from this estate, the 2015 Proprietary Red is a much more Cabernet-dominated blend than the 2014 and is 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and the rest Malbec. Brought up all in new French oak, this monster effort boasts a deep purple color as well as sensational notes of currants, blackberry liqueur, graphite, espresso roast and leafy herbs. Full-bodied, ripe, opulent and incredibly concentrated, this killer effort needs 2-3 years to shed some baby fat, but it’s going to keep for 2-3 decades.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Review – Vintage 2015
2015 Carte Blanche Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – 97 Points
The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is made predominately from Cabernet Sauvignon from Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper vineyard. It gives a very deep purple-black color and is redolent of crème de cassis, blueberry compote, Indian spices and crushed rocks with touches of black soil, cigar boxes and Provence herbs. The palate is built like a brick house with a solid frame of firm, fine-grained tannins and plenty of freshness supporting the generous black and blue fruits and beautiful spice layers, finishing on a lingering mineral note.
2015 Carte Blanche Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley – 94 Points
Blended of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon from Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper vineyard with 18% Merlot, 18.5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 0.5% Malbec, the 2015 Proprietary Red gives a very deep inky purple color and very pretty nose of baking spices, potpourri, underbrush and rose hip tea over a core of crushed black plums and black currants, with hints of dried mint and chocolate box. Rich, full-bodied and impactful with its layers of perfumed fruit in the mouth, it has lovely plush tannins and just enough acid lift, finishing with great length.