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2016 Vintages

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2016 Arriviste
2016 Arriviste
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
91 Points
"Right from the first sniff, one gets the sense that this is not a run-of-the-mill Rosé but is instead a pink wine of considerably more intent and ambition and one that is about as sophisticated and well-crafted as can be found in the genre. It is rich, fully dry and relatively weighty with loads of deep, very continuous fruit and a cautious bit of vinous grip that commends mealtime drinking, and it has the structure and substance to keep nicely and perhaps improve for a couple of years."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
November 2017

2015 Vintages

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2015 Paramour
2015 Paramour
Wine Advocate
93+ Points
"The deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Paramour Proprietary Red, a blend of 93% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, is scented of warm red and black currants, black cherries and underbrush with hints of pencil shavings and tobacco. The medium to full-bodied palate offers chewy tannins, crunchy fresh fruit and a long, earthy finish."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
2015 Illustration
2015 Illustration
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
94 Points
"The latest iteration of Blackbird's Illustration hits the mark smartly once again, and, while its tightly knit structure and layered mix of black cherries, cassis, cola, graphite and hardwoody sweetness invite comparison to fine claret, it is a claret of considerable size and substance. Its ample tannins leave a bit of gruff astringency in their wake and mandate no fewer than a half-dozen years of waiting, yet the wine is wonderfully refined and conveys nary an inkling of coarseness, and it is guaranteed to grow with grace for a very long time."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
November 2017
2015 Dissonance
2015 Dissonance
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"The wine has a beautiful nose of vibrant Kiwi, pineapple and pink grapefruit sprinkled with spruce, jasmine and lemon crème. The palate offers a solid sense of anise, dried citrus and chalky, mineral-focused core. Clean and well focused. Tasted ambient, then chilled."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
92 Points
"Blackbird's 2015 Dissonance captures the brighter side of Sauvignon Blanc. Citrus and white flower notes abound in a crisp, lively wine with terrific cut and energy, but none of the aggressive, vegetal notes that can sometimes dominate in wines made in this style. The 2015 was aged in a combination of terra cotta amphora, stainless steel and neutral oak. Drink it over the next few years."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
January 2017
2015 Contrarian
2015 Contrarian
Wine Advocate
93 Points
"A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc and 17% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Contrarian Proprietary Red has a cassis, warm blackberries and kirsch-scented nose with hints of cedar chest, forest floor, Mediterranean herbs and tar. The medium to full-bodied mouth is firm with a good fruit core, finishing long with an herbal lift."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
2015 Arriviste
2015 Arriviste
Wine Enthusiast
91 Points
"Full review coming soon..."
Wine Enthusiast
June 2016
Purely Domestic Wine Report
91 Points
"Tasted first at room temperature, the nose is fresh grapefruit with notes of buttercream, raspberry, blossoms and wet stone. The palate is full bodied with a core of lush cherry and strawberry, finishing with rich texture and silky length to the mouth-coating cherry. All of this comes into sharper focus when revisiting after chilling. Drink 2016 - 2018."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
May 2016
2015 Arise
2015 Arise
Wine Advocate
91+ Points
"Composed of 37% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Petit Verdot, the 2015 Arise Proprietary Red is a deep garnet-purple color with a nose of freshly crushed blackberries and blueberries with hints of cigar box, spice box, wild thyme and menthol. The full-bodied, generous mouth is nice and spicy, with fine-grained tannins and nice harmony and freshness."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2014 Vintages

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2014 Paramour
2014 Paramour
Purely Domestic Wine Report
96 Points
"A nose of spiced chocolate and red fruit with a subtle overlay of sticky black plum and notes of espresso. The palate entry is a beautifully sculpted blackberry and cherry accented with spicy oak. Great texture and length."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Wine Advocate
95 Points
"Another terrific example of Blackbird is the 2014 Proprietary Red Paramour, a fabulous blend of 84% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot. The Cabernet Franc comes from the Stagecoach Vineyard. Consultant Aaron Pott said he thinks they have a magical spot for it on that large eastern Napa Valley mountain site. This is terrific stuff from the super-intense fragrance of white flowers and forest floor to the blueberry, black raspberry and graphite notes. The wine hits the palate with dazzling fruit intensity, loads of glycerin, a round, juicy, succulent mouthfeel, a layered personality and a long, supple finish. Drink it now or over the next 15+ years."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
92 Points
"The 2014 Paramour is one of the more tightly wound wines in this range. Sweet herbs, mocha, tobacco and cedar open up first. Beams of firm, youthful tannin give the wine its sense of proportion. Long and nicely delineated, the 2014 is going to need a few years to come into its own, but it is quite pretty, even today."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
January 2017
2014 Illustration
2014 Illustration
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
95 Points
"Although very dense and substantial, the 2014 Illustration exhibits a sense of sophistication uncommon in wines that are as extracted as it is, and, while absolutely demanding of age, it already teases with glimpses of layering that should make waiting easy. It is ripe and moderately tannic, but very deep, black cherry fruit sets its course, and we harbor no doubts at all about its certain ability to gain considerable polish and grow increasingly complex for some five to ten years."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
Purely Domestic Wine Report
93 Points
"Nicely saturated color, the nose is captivating in its pure expression of crushed blackberry cut with a fresh, bright currant and notes of lavender and oak. The palate entry is velvety and mouth coating offering a spicy core of licorice, black cherry and firm, sculpted acidity."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Wine Advocate
92 Points
"A blend of 65% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot is the 2014 Proprietary Red Illustration. Like it siblings, this is aged 17 months in French cooperage, of which about half is new. This is a beauty – Old World meets New World so to speak – with good tannin structure and acidity, but terrific ripe fruit of crème de cassis, black chocolate intermixed with licorice and espresso bean. This is a full-bodied, juicy, opulent style of wine to drink over the next 15 or so years."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
91 Points
"The 2014 Illustration is soft, open-knit and pliant, with more than enough mid-palate depth to drink well with minimal cellaring. Sweet red cherry, plum, tobacco and spice lead into the fleshy, inviting finish."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
January 2017
2014 Contrarian
2014 Contrarian
Purely Domestic Wine Report
95 Points
"Notable color saturation. The nose is bold, intense with black currant, underlying licorice and dried black cherry. The palate is seductively polished on entry with a core of firm black fruit that is effortlessly integrated into a powerful profile that defines this wine."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Wine Advocate
93 Points
"Another stunner is the 2014 Proprietary Red Contrarian, dominated by its 81% Cabernet Sauvignon followed by 13% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc. This exhibits classic tobacco leaf, crème de cassis, forest floor, Christmas fruitcake, cedarwood and a touch of new saddle leather. It is full-bodied, powerful, rich, concentrated and yet soft enough to drink now or be cellared for another 15-20 years."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
93 Points
"The 2014 Contrarian is deep, powerful and fleshy, with a good core of fruit and terrific overall balance. The mid-weight style of the year comes through in a relatively soft wine that will drink well with minimal cellaring. Inky red and purplish fruits, herbs, tobacco and cedar add the closing shades of nuance."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
January 2017
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
93 Points
"While young Cabernet can be rich and effusively fruity, complexity and discrete layering are more typically traits for which one has to wait, but this compelling, very deep and wonderfully well-extracted wine already shows a good deal of each. That is not to say that it is ready to drink, and, in fact, it is anything but, yet for all of its considerable substance and concentration, it hints at polish even now. Make no mistake, it is one for the cellar, even though it is remarkably expressive, and is structured for a decade of growth, and, if waiting will not come easy, patience will be rewarded with manifold pleasures only hinted at just now."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
August 2017
2014 Arriviste
2014 Arriviste
Purely Domestic Wine Report
90 Points
"Aromas of strawberry, rhubarb, orange zest with notes of juniper and mineral. The palate entry is beautifully crisp with raspberry, cherry in the core underscored by a saline dimension and mineral, botanical coriander freshness. Drink 2015 - 2017."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Ken's Wine Guide
90 Points (Very Good+)
"On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, round and mouthwatering. The flavor profile is a mineral infused Maraschino cherry with a faint hint of mild orange. The finish is dry and its flavors fade away nicely. This Rosé will complement lots of foods."
Ken's Wine Guide
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
89 Points
"Vivid orange-pink. Potent blood orange and redcurrant scents show good clarity and subtle herbal and floral accents. Fleshy and dry on the palate, offering bitter cherry and red berry skin flavors plus a touch of bitter citrus pith. A spicy note adds cut to the finish, which hangs on with good tenacity."
Josh Raynolds, Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
April 2015
2014 Arise
2014 Arise
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
93 Points
"Merlot makes its mark clearly here as the wine keys on emphatic, fairly succulent black cherry fruit, but its Cabernet components provide structural solidity and extend its reach with complexing touches of cassis and sweet, loamy soil while a nicely fit dollop of creamy oak adds yet another layer of interest. Fairly obvious tannins warn off early drinking, but this impressively filled wine is exceptionally well-balanced and already shows a nascent sense of polish that is hard to miss, and it has the makings of a most memorable match for red meats running from a medium-rare rack of lamb to a juicy, standing rib roast once another three to five years have passed."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
November 2016
Wine Enthusiast
92 Points
"Full review coming soon..."
Wine Enthusiast
JamesSuckling.com
91 Points
"Aromas of plums, earth and spices follow through to a full body and tight and firm tannins. Structured and powerful."
JamesSuckling.com
January 2017

2013 Vintages

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2013 Paramour
2013 Paramour
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
93 Points
"The Cabernet Franc-based 2013 Paramour has turned out beautifully. Espresso, mocha, soaring spice notes and black stone fruits are pushed forward. Aromatic, inviting and ample on the palate, the 2013 is full of Franc sensuality. Like all of the 2013s, the Paramour needs time in bottle to soften, but it is quite expressive today just the same."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
October 2015
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"A harmonious nose of mixed black fruits, chocolate truffle, licorice and baking spices all with nice depth. Like many 2013 Napa Cabernet, there is crisply focused vibrancy and angular youth on entry. Supple cherry and camphor in the core. Drink 2017 - 2024."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Wine Advocate
92 Points
"A blend of 52% Cabernet Franc, 34% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2013 Paramour Proprietary Red is my favorite of the quartet. This wine shows wonderful forest floor and floral notes, blueberry and black raspberry, a dense ruby/purple color, a rich, full-bodied mouthfeel, but a sense of lightness and finesse. It's a beautifully crafted and articulated wine with terrific precision and purity. Drink it over the next 10-15 years."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
2013 Illustration
2013 Illustration
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
93 Points
"There is not all that much difference between these two Blackbird offerings in terms of pure enjoyment, but the winery has rightly identified the better of two in that this one is the richer, deeper and more refined sibling. Its curranty, dried raspberry leanings do come across as a shade purer in fruit quality, and, at this level, those distinctions do push this one higher up the desirability scale as well as suggesting a more refined future, especially some six to ten years down the road."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
April 2016
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"Deeply aromatic with silky plum, sun-warmed boysenberry sap and sandalwood. The palate is compact and solid with a sense of licorice, plum sauce and solid tannins. Takes a couple hours to fully open. Drink 2017 - 2024."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
92 Points
"A more savory expression of Merlot emerges from the 2013 Illustration. Hudson and Stagecoach are the primary sources, which explains the wine's distinct ferrous personality. Smoke, leather, licorice and grilled herbs are some of the overtones that develop as this dark, large-scaled Merlot-based red shows off its explosive personality and breadth."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
October 2015
Wine Advocate
91 Points
"The 2013 Illustration Proprietary Red, 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, is a beauty. Dense ruby/purple, the wine offers up mocha, coffee bean, white chocolate, black cherry and blackcurrant fruit in a full-bodied, opulent, lusty style. Some light tannin in the finish gives the wine some grip, but this is a wine to drink now and over the next 10-12 years."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
2013 Contrarian
2013 Contrarian
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
92 Points
"The 2013 Contrarian is the darkest and most massive of these wines from Blackbird. Huge swaths of tannin cut across the palate. Deep, explosive and inviting, the 2013 holds plenty of depth in its inky blue and purplish fruit, grilled herbs, mocha and chocolate. Like all of the Blackbird wines, the Contrarian is powerful and super-extracted. Accordingly, it is going to need a few years to shed some of its youthful exuberance."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
October 2015
Purely Domestic Wine Report
91 Points
"Aromas of briary red berry, camphor, cherry, cocoa powder, espresso and black fruits. Extracted palate entry with well-defined structure. Abundant fruitiness in core balanced by velvet-like tannins. The most evolved of the current Blackbird offerings. Drink 2016 - 2027."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
90 Points
"Cabernet Sauvignon barely accounts for a third of this blend, yet its presence is more than apparent in the wine's distinctly cassis-like aromas and flavors, and, if the two Cabernets combine to provide earthy spice, structural solidity and the material for aging, Merlot makes its own contribution in bringing a bit of mannerly roundness as well. Yet another in Blackbird's lengthy string of blended successes, this latest Contrarian is certain to get even better with time."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
April 2016
2013 Arriviste
2013 Arriviste
Restaurant Wine
5 /5 Stars (Exceptional)
"Screw cap. Excellent rose: fragrant, dry, full bodied, moderately intense in flavor, it is medium long on the finish, with a hint of tannin, and tastes of strawberry, raspberry, herbs, and grapefruit."
Restaurant Wine
August 2014
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"2013 Arriviste was tasted close to room temperature. The nose is deeply chiseled graphite, strawberry and peach. The palate is bone dry with licorice, graphite, strawberry, and oyster shell-like mineral - crisp and clean. The finish is clean with notes of parsley, geranium, peach and salt. Arguably the best Arriviste I have reviewed. Drink 2015 - 2016."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Ken's Wine Guide
90 Points (Very Good+)
"It opens with mild clementine and wet stone bouquet with a hint of red cherry. On the palate, this wine is initially medium bodied and freshly acidic."
Ken's Wine Guide
Wine Enthusiast
90 Points
"An intense, structured wine thick in strawberry and raspberry flavor with just a hint of herbal amidst its complex layers."
Wine Enthusiast
July 2014
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
89 Points
"Bright watermelon-pink color. Subtle leesy complexity and floral lift to the aromas of raspberry, strawberry and wild herbs."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
July 2014
2013 Arise
2013 Arise
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
91 Points
"It is no knock against this wine that its central character is a bit oriented to the ripe plum side of things and that its structure is that much more blunt in feel than its mate above. This wine will also age well, and, in the near term, the differences between the two are less today than they seem likely to become over time. Give this one four to six years."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
April 2016
Wine Enthusiast
91 Points (Cellar Selection)
"This is a Merlot-dominant blend, with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc blended in. It offers cooler-climate elements of dried herb, cedar and currant, with the tannins sleek and polished. The finish flirts with a taste of coconut. Drink now through 2021."
Wine Enthusiast
Purely Domestic Wine Report
90 Points
"The nose is full of brilliant freshness of lively herb, black cherry, boysenberries, polished notes of mocha and ripe stone fruit. The palate is youthfully delicate and poised showing textured dryness in the core and a firm herballaced sap character on the finish. Drink 2017 - 2024."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Wine Spectator Magazine
90 Points
"Well-structured but tightly wound, with aromas of red currant and bittersweet chocolate and flavors of cherry, olive and black tea. Finishes with firm tannins. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc."
Wine Spectator Magazine
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
90 Points
"The Merlot-based 2013 Arise, Blackbird's entry-level wine, is dark, voluptuous and juicy. Dark red and blue fruit, violets, lavender and spices round out the succulent, open-knit finish. Drink this delicious red over the next few years."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
October 2015

2012 Vintages

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2012 Paramour
2012 Paramour
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
93+ Points
"The Cabernet Franc-based 2012 Paramour is laced with espresso, tobacco, smoke, licorice, incense and sweet herbs. Dense, compact yet also endowed with serious implosive energy, the Paramour is one of the most reticent wines of this generally much more open vintage. Even with quite a bit of Merlot in the blend, the 2012 boasts considerable structure."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
December 2014
Wine Advocate
94 Points
"The gorgeous 2012 Paramour offers up notes of Christmas fruitcake, forest floor, mulberries, black cherries and currants. Full-bodied and beautifully fruity without a lot of weight, this is a beautiful example of a complex wine."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
Purely Domestic Wine Report
93 Points
"2012 PARAMOUR shows tremendous concentration in the nose of blueberry, plum, carbon, petrichor, licorice and espresso. The palate entry is beautifully balanced and sculpted blackberry with deeply layered stone fruit. Excellent length and texture. Very nice. Drink 2016 - 2030."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
JamesSuckling.com
92 Points
"A soft and fruity red with blackberry, blueberry and spice character. Full body, velvety tannins and a flavorful finish."
JamesSuckling.com
July 2015
Wine Enthusiast
92 Points
"Another fine proprietary red blend from this producer, this one holds a majority of Cabernet Franc with a sizable proportion of Merlot and smidgen of Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Aaron Pott makes a statement in caramel and dark chocolate at the entry, followed by a structured, juicy and brooding palate of well-integrated tannins and firm, earthy red fruit."
Wine Enthusiast
August 2015
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
90 Points
"Once again an intense wine high in extract and loaded with deep and sustained fruit with highlights of cocoa, cola, earth and dried herbs affording it fine complexity, the 2012 Paramour impresses as being a somewhat more layered and far-reaching wine than its younger counterpart. While its high Merlot fraction shows in its slightly supple beginnings, its tannic finishing turn clearly warns off near-term drinking, and, although it will start to spread its wings in four or five years, an easy decade of positive growth lies ahead."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
April 2016
2012 Illustration
2012 Illustration
Purely Domestic Wine Report
94 Points
"2012 Illustration offers a nose of ebullient red cherry fruit, espresso, camphor, chocolate and lavender, The palate entry is firm and chewy with a savory core of mushroom, purple herbs and truffle. Should be decanted if approached early. Drink 2016 - 2028."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Wine Enthusiast
93 Points
"This blend combines 64% Merlot with 34% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon to nice effect, offering cranberry and red, juicy plum around softly cradled tannins and well-resolved oak. Juicy, structured and fully balanced, the finish sparks elements of leather with tobacco."
Wine Enthusiast
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
92 Points
"The 2012 Illustration, Blackbird's Merlot-based blend, brings together power and silkiness with unusual grace. Drink this supple, racy red over the next handful of years, while the flavors remain juicy and vibrant."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
December 2014
Wine Advocate
91 Points
"The 2012 Illustration is a sexy, chocolaty style of wine offering notes of ink, kirsch and black fruits. Lush, medium-bodied, deep, sensual and hedonistic."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
2012 Denary Cuvee
2012 Denary Cuvee
Wine Enthusiast
94 Points
"A Bordeaux-inspired blend of 54% Cabernet Franc, 28% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a tightly woven wine with buoyant minerality and a baseline of complexity, dry and balanced in cranberry, graphite, herb and tobacco leaf. It is composed and layered, enjoyable now and over time, through 2022."
Wine Enthusiast
August 2015
Wine Advocate
92+ Points
"The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Denary comes primarily from the Stagecoach Vineyard in the eastern sector of Napa Valley. It reveals classic notes of coffee beans, crème de cassis and bouquet garni, medium to full-bodied power, and some tannin to shed. Give it 2-3 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 15+ years."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"Denary Cuveé observes the 10th release of Blackbird Vineyards, selected from the top barrels. The nose is lilting red berry, lavender and underlying savory notes of spice and elderberry. The palate is brilliant, firm and toned black stone fruit and currant. Possesses great vitality. Drink 2015 - 2027."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
92 Points
"Black fruit, smoke, espresso, tobacco, graphite and savory herbs are some of the many notes that emerge from Blackbird's 2012 Denary cuvée. One of the more dense, extracted wines in this range, the Denary cuvée is going to need at least a few years in bottle for the tannins to start softening. There is little of the vintage's early appeal here."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
December 2014
2012 Contrarian
2012 Contrarian
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
93+ Points
"Cabernet Franc plays the leading role in the 2012 Contrarian. Sweet floral and savory aromatics meld into a core of dark red stone fruits in a deep, resonant wine built on pure verticality. All the elements fall into place in a gracious yet powerful wine. The Cabernet Franc is felt especially in the lifted, floral aromatics that are woven throughout."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
December 2014
JamesSuckling.com
93 Points
"A firm and juicy wine with blackberry, hints of new wood and cedar. Full-bodied, velvety and rich. Long finish."
JamesSuckling.com
July 2015
Purely Domestic Wine Report
93 Points
"2012 CONTRARIAN has a deep and firm nose of plum, peppercorn and blackberry, all nicely integrated. The palate is centered on a bright, sappy cherry with notes of savory spice. A long, polished finish awaits. Drink 2015 - 2028."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Wine Advocate
91+ Points
"Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by notes of blackcurrants, licorice, lead pencil shavings, vanillin and spice. Made in a fuller-bodied, more structured and masculine style."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
91 Points
"Moderately intense and fairly complex with deep, dark cherry fruit joined by elements of graphite, fresh earth and a sweetening note of rich oak, Blackbird's Contrarian is at once structured and sturdy, but it does not err to extreme toughness and teases with a fine sense of central succulence. It is a serious, cellar-worthy wine whose best lies some years down the line, and it demands five-to-eight years of patient restraint."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
April 2016
2012 Arriviste
2012 Arriviste
Restaurant Wine
5 /5 Stars (Exceptional)
"Intensely fruity and lightly herbal in character, this is a dry, rich rosé with a smooth palate impression and a long. Full finish, tasting of raspberry, strawberry and herbs."
Restaurant Wine
June 2013
Purely Domestic Wine Report
90 Points
"Beautifully-made, carefree quaff. Lively strawberry, cherry and graphite. Quite dry, it is always something I look forward to."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
November 2013
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
89 Points
"Aromas of pomegranate, cherry, raspberry and spicy oak. Supple and pliant in the mouth, with a firm acid spine and a hint of minerality giving shape to the middle palate."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
June 2013
2012 Arise
2012 Arise
California Wine Advisors
95 Points (Classic)
"Showing great dark fruit, tobacco, and spices on the nose, it evolves into an expansive and rich palate with plenty of pure Napa fruit on display. The silky tannins are well-balanced and support the layers of spice and cherry that culminate in a powerful finish. Enjoy this wine over the next 8-10 years."
California Wine Advisors
May 2015
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"2012 Arise has a beautiful nose of lilac, lavender, sticky blackberry, dried cherry, herb and java. The palate is sculpted and polished with brilliantly precise piquant mid-palate of pomegranate and red cherry. The tannins are fine-grained and are well integrated into the harmonious, and long finish. Drink 2015 - 2024."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
91 Points
"This big, fairly broad-shouldered composition steers away from the accessible and affable fruitiness that many Merlots feature, and it is instead a deep and age worthy wine whose substantial Cabernet contributions afford it complexity and structure that are apart from the Merlot norm."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
November 2014
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
90 Points
"Dark red cherry, plums, tobacco, spices and leather are all laced together in the 2012 Arise, Blackbird's entry-level wine. Silky tannins wrap around the gracious, expressive finish. Merlot plays the leading role in an open, supple wine that showcases the house style very nicely."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
December 2014
Wine Enthusiast
90 Points
"Made by Aaron Pott, this blend of 58% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon is minerally and herbaceous, aged almost two years in French oak, half of it new, the rest seasoned. Cassis, pomegranate and peppercorn dance to the fore, supported by weighty tannins."
Wine Enthusiast
March 2015

2011 Vintages

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2011 Paramour
2011 Paramour
The Tasting Panel Magazine
93 Points
"Smooth and rich with plum, blackberry and chocolate; lush, juicy and showing bright, tangy acidity and lovely balance; deep and long."
The Tasting Panel Magazine (Blue's Reviews Extra)
December 2013
Wine Enthusiast
93 Points (Cellar Selection)
"Succulent and delicious as anything out there, soft and sensual, with intricate black cherry, cola, violet, cocoa and cedar flavors. Wonderful to drink now, it will age well for the next 12-15 years."
Wine Enthusiast
September 2013
Purely Domestic Wine Report
93 Points
"Fine definition to the currant, berry java, herb and cherry aromas. The palate is beautifully focused... chewiness in the mid palate..."
Purely Domestic Wine Report
November 2013
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
91+ Points
"Bright, dark red. Aromas and flavors of redcurrant, plum, mocha, spicecake, pipe tobacco and dried flowers."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
July 2014
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
92 Points
"Dark plums, espresso, grilled herbs, tar and licorice meld together in the 2011. Intense and brooding. The firm tannins need another year or two to soften, but the wine's balance is outstanding."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
November 2013
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
90 Points
"Commendable for having come from a difficult vintage. It smacks of ripe cherries... Agreeably-tame tannins provide just the right degree of structural grip."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
April 2014
2011 Illustration
2011 Illustration
Wine Enthusiast
93 Points
"Rich, instantly likeable flavors of cherries, currants, cocoa, green olives and violets. The wine feels softly tannic in the mouth, and will be fabulous now with a great steak, but it also will develop over the next 10-12 years."
Wine Enthusiast
September 2013
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
93 Points
"Good deal of juicy, fully ripened, black cherry fruit at the fore of this one. Yet for all of its obvious richness, it has plenty of depth and a real sense of reserve that affords it fine potential for development."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
November 2013
The Tasting Panel Magazine
92 Points
"Smooth and ripe with rich plum, spice and herbs; supple, lush and deep with balance, tangy fruit acidity and style; long and vibrant."
The Tasting Panel Magazine (Blue's Reviews Extra)
December 2013
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
90+ Points
"Bright medium-deep red. Musky aromas of redcurrant, licorice and dark chocolate, plus a hint of herbs."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
July 2014
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
91 Points
"2011 Illustration is a juicy and expressive red. Cloves, dark red cherries, plums, menthol and licorice all blossom in a textured, inviting wine that is all about depth and resonance. The soft contours of Merlot inform the generous finish."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
November 2013
Purely Domestic Wine Report
91 Points
"Has a distinct ripe and round nose of blackberry and herb. The palate is round and robust with plenty of well-integrated herb and black fruit."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
November 2013
2011 Contrarian
2011 Contrarian
Purely Domestic Wine Report
94 Points
"A vibrant currant, berry and herbal-licorice nose. Beautifully polished palate entry, with firm, dark berries and espresso."
Purely Domestic Wine Report
November 2013
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
93 Points
"This very sexy wine finishes with noble tannins for the vintage and excellent length. A beautiful showing."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
July 2014
JamesSuckling.com
93 Points
"Plenty of currant and plum aromas follow through to a medium body, with fine tannins and an integrated finish. Very pretty indeed. Classy young cab."
JamesSuckling.com
May 2014
Wine Enthusiast
92 Points
"Sweet cherry, red licorice, violet, cocoa and new oak flavors make this wine drinkable now. Cab Franc taking the starring role, and Merlot also a strong component of the blend. The window of drinkability extends at least through 2019."
Wine Enthusiast
September 2013
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
92 Points
"The most vibrant and powerful of reds from Blackbird. Violets, cloves, menthol, tar and licorice burst from the glass in a firm Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine loaded with personality and class. Here, too, the wine's balance is impeccable."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
November 2013
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
91 Points
"It is surprisingly accessible, refined and wonderfully well-polished even while being solid and sturdy..."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
April 2014
2011 Arriviste
2011 Arriviste
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
91 Points
"Offers a splendid combination of breadth and delicacy for California pink wine...This rich but very subtle rose should be particularly useful at the dinner table."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
May 2012
SF Weekly
Wine of the Week
"The Arriviste (is) the only California wine in the portfolio that hits our Wine of the Week $40 and below price target...The dinner Rosé...or a pairing for fresh oysters."
SF Weekly
May 2012
2011 Arise
2011 Arise
Ken's Wine Guide
92 Points (Very Good+)
"This wine is medium bodied, nicely balanced and very easy to drink. The flavor profile is a tasty black cherry with hints of boysenberry, gentle plum, and faint oak in the background. (This is a) very good wine."
Ken's Wine Guide
October 2013
Wine Enthusiast
91 Points
"Displays the house style of accessible fruit, in the way of blackberries, cherries, currants and cocoa, wrapped in refined but firm tannins. Drink it now with Cabernet-friendly food, especially a great char-broiled steak."
Wine Enthusiast
September 2013
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
90 Points
"Bright medium red. Red currant, plum, licorice, milk chocolate and Christmas spices on the complex nose, lifted by a floral note."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
July 2014
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
90 Points
"Wraps around the palate with juicy dark cherries, plums, mocha and sweet spices, all in a fairly soft, approachable style for the year. Soft floral notes wrap around the finish."
Vinous Media - By Antonio Galloni
November 2013
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
90 Points
"Complex blend of cherries, spices and cocoa with wisps of sweet spices and its supple, somewhat rounded yet decently balanced palatal impacts."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
November 2013

2010 Vintages

Top
2010 Paramour
2010 Paramour
Restaurant Wine
5 /5 Stars (Exceptional)
"Superb Cabernet Franc blend! Beautifully balanced, medium rich, complex in character and very long on the palate."
Restaurant Wine
June 2013
Wine Enthusiast
94 Points (Cellar Selection)
"The soft voluptuousness of this Cabernet Franc-based Bordeaux blend is its most evident feature. [Tannins are] as finely woven as a silk tapestry, while the flavors are dazzling, suggesting black cherries, red currants and hints of dark chocolate and anise. Kudos to winemaker Aaron Pott for this remarkable blend from all around the valley."
Wine Enthusiast
August 2013
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
92+ Points
"Brooding aromas of black fruits, dark chocolate, with a hint of violet...This very rich wine opened beautifully in the glass...The broad, serious tannins saturate the entire palate."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
May 2013
Purely Domestic Wine Report
93 Points
"Beguilingly supple, with open, briary black fruit elements in the nose. The palate delivers an intense black currant, tannin and berry profile with a nice bit of licorice on the finish."
Purely Domestic Wine Report
November 2012
Wine Spectator Magazine
92 Points
"Subtle black cherry, black licorice and floral scents extend onto the palate. This is an elegant, graceful, deftly balanced young wine that retains focus and persistence. Drink now through 2024."
Wine Spectator Magazine
June 2013
Wine Advocate
90+ Points
"Slightly more restrained aromatically, displaying blueberry, blackberry and cassis fruit, a full-bodied, fleshy, voluptuous character, and plenty of richness."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
October 2013
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
91 Points
"More than just complex, this dramatic wine runs from the darker influences of concentrated black cherries and toasty tobacco leaf..."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
May 2013
2010 Illustration
2010 Illustration
Restaurant Wine
5 /5 Stars (Exceptional)
"Fleshy and complex, this is a luscious, full-bodied blend with excellent jam, mint and spicy oak."
Restaurant Wine
June 2013
Wine Enthusiast
94 Points (Cellar Selection)
"There's something enormously satisfying about this Merlot-based blend. It hits the Napa-Bordeaux sweet spot, with concentrated blackberry and cherry fruit, jacketed in sweet, smoky oak. Great to experience now, and should be one for the long haul"
Wine Enthusiast
August 2013
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
93 Points
"Lush on entry, then a wave of black cherry, raspberry and truffle washes over the palate and echoes on the long finish. Very seductive wine. Pomerol lookalike."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
May 2013
Purely Domestic Wine Report
93 Points
"A beautiful nose of blackberry and currant. Once again, the palate shows solid structure with a precise impression of black currant, licorice and fine tannins."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
November 2012
Wine Advocate
91 Points
"Fleshy and pure as well as loaded with fruit and character, this is another beautifully balanced, seamless effort that should drink beautifully for 10-15 years - if you can resist it for that long."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
October 2013
Wine Spectator Magazine
91 Points
"Tightly focused and well-built, with aromas of cherry, blueberry and black olive, offering firm flavors of loamy mineral, cedar and currant that finish with firm tannins."
Wine Spectator Magazine
November 2013
2010 Contrarian
2010 Contrarian
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
93+ Points
"Notes of black cherry and cassis. A youthfully medicinal quality harmonious acidity. Intensely flavored and very long, finishing with serious fine-grained tannins and outstanding grip."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
May 2013
Wine Enthusiast
94 Points (Cellar Selection)
"So soft and dense in richness, this is easy to enjoy now. But you really want to restrain that impulse and give it some time in the cellar. Blended from roughly equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it's dry and tannic, but with a molten core of blackberries, cherries, blueberries, anise and sweet new oak. Very fine, very elaborate and complex. This wine could still be unfolding in 2020."
Wine Enthusiast
August 2013
Wine Advocate
93 Points
"A beauty of purity, symmetry, harmony and pure Napa fruit. Abundant notes of blue and black fruits, sweet tannin, and enough acidity for delineation and freshness result in a stunningly impressive wine to drink over the next 10-12 years."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
October 2013
Purely Domestic Wine Report
93 Points
"Shows off ripe and smooth black fruit in the nose with an impression of focused tannins. The texture and tannins are well-formed and should give this wine a long life."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
November 2012
JamesSuckling.com
92 Points
"Attractive dark berries, dried chili pepper and hints of herbs. Full-bodied, pretty, polished and chewy."
JamesSuckling.com
May 2014
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
92 Points (Best of 2013)
"Deep, dense and impressively concentrated, this generously filled wine shows layer upon layer of rich, well-ripened dark fruit. [It] will age famously for ten years or more."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
April 2013
Wine Spectator Magazine
90 Points
"A graceful, elegant mix of black cherry, plum, mineral and loamy earth, ending with a subtle but persistent finish and lingering flavors. Drink now through 2022."
Wine Spectator Magazine
June 2013
Restaurant Wine
4.5 /5 Stars (Excellent)
"A fine blend: supple in texture, ripely flavored, and well balanced; a wine with rich, complex character, and a long, lightly tannic finish"
Restaurant Wine
June 2013
2010 Arriviste
2010 Arriviste
Ken's Wine Guide
89 Points (Very Good)
"This truly Rose colored wine opens with a fragrant strawberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, well balanced, and very smooth. The flavor profile of this wine is a mild mineral infused gentle strawberry with a touch of pomegranate and black cherry. The finish is very dry and rather refreshing."
Ken's Wine Guide
May 2011
Wine Spectator Magazine
Recommended
"Rosés from Around the World (100 rosés on the list with only 3 recommended from Napa Valley)"
Wine Spectator Magazine
July 2011
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Recommended
"Stephen Tanzer's Annual Report on Pink Wines (The only rosé recommended from Napa Valley)"
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
July 2011
Gary Vaynerchuck
"Just had the best Rosé I have had from California... Maybe ever... Like find it... Wow!"
Gary Vaynerchuck (Twitter)
February 2011
2010 Arise
2010 Arise
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"(The wine) delivers a very structured palate impression of earth and black cherry and nice grip to the tannins. It gets pretty exotic on the finish. Drink 2012-2018."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
November 2012
Wine Advocate
91 Points
"Delicious, round, opulent and decadently fruity and forward, this crowd-pleasing, head-turning 2010 possesses lots of character. It should drink well for a decade."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
October 2013
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
90+
"Sexy aromas of black raspberry and flowers. Densely packed with kirsch and licorice flavors with herb notes. Finishes with terrific energy and sneaky length."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
May 2013
Ken's Wine Guide
91 Points
"On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, balanced, smooth, and has a very nice mouthfeel...this wine would pair well with short ribs or beef stew."
Ken's Wine Guide
November 2012
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
91 Points
"Blackbird's blended Merlot comes through again, and like its predecessors, it offers a potent combination of depth, richness and spot-on claret focus..."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
March 2013
Wine Enthusiast
90 Points
"This is one of the richer, finer wines out of Napa meant for drinking now. With smooth tannins and a soft mouth-feel, it shows sweet-tasting cherry jam, cassis and toasty oak flavors."
Wine Enthusiast
February 2013
Restaurant Wine
4 Stars (Excellent)
"Complex in flavor and full bodied, this is an excellent blend. It is medium rich, balanced, long, mildly tannic, and oaky on the finish. It tastes of cassis, toast, tobacco, herbs, and spicy oak."
Restaurant Wine
January 2013

2009 Vintages

Top
2009 Paramour
2009 Paramour
Restaurant Wine
5 Stars
"Paramour is luscious and complex; an exceptional wine, with intense fruitiness, layers of oak complexity, and a firm, long finish. Delicious."
Restaurant Wine
June 2012
Ken's Wine Guide
95 Points (Excellent)
"I just loved this wine! It will not be around too long. Everyone will want a second glass."
Ken's Wine Guide
April 2012
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
92+ Points
"Smooth and fine-grained but youthfully backward...with flavors of black cherry, coffee, and spices. Perhaps the longest of the set of 2009s...This very well balanced wine blossomed beautifully in the glass..."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
May 2012
Wine Enthusiast
92 Points
"...Very polished and complex...Marked by black cherry, red currant and cedar flavors, and finishes totally dry."
Wine Enthusiast
June 2012
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"Elderberry, currant and lavender in the nose with ripe, mouth-coating chocolate, black fruits and solid tannins, it shows beautiful structure."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
February 2012
2009 Illustration
2009 Illustration
Ken's Wine Guide
94 Points (Excellent)
"This opaque and pitch black colored finesse wine will certainly be a crowd pleaser. This is a very food friendly wine that would pair well with steak."
Ken's Wine Guide
May 2012
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
93 Points
"Sexy, vibrant aromas of black cherry, dark raspberry, cassis, chocolate and licorice...Blackbird, whose wines are made by the talented Aaron Pott, describes itself as 'an artisanal producer of Pomerol-inspired wines' and this beauty could be exhibit A."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
May 2012
Wine Enthusiast
92 Points
"This is a big, rich, vibrant wine, fruity enough to drink now...deliciously forward in cherry, currant, herb and new oak flavors. The wine shows a brisk acidity that makes it elegant and refined."
Wine Enthusiast
June 2012
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"Blueberry and black currant in the nose, it shows a somewhat youthfully angular palate with polished black fruits in the core."
Purely Domestic Wine Report
February 2012
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
92 Points
"Delivers a wealth of very deep, perfectly focused black cherry fruit with lovely oak as a backup...a solid, extremely well-balanced, impressively layered and eminently age-worthy wine..."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
November 2011
Restaurant Wine
4 Stars
"Full bodied and intensely flavored, this is a supple, concentrated wine...Can be aged. Excellent."
Restaurant Wine
June 2012
2009 Contrarian
2009 Contrarian
Wine Enthusiast
93 Points
"Just beautiful to drink now...the wine's flavors are simply delicious, offering waves of cherries, blueberries, plums and currants. Plenty of new oak adds toasty vanilla. (Pair) this wine with rich foods, such as lamb."
Wine Enthusiast
June 2012
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
92+ Points
"Crushed blackberry, licorice and violet on the nose and palate. This very rich, long wine comes across as much more vibrant...Impressive potential here."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
May 2012
Ken's Wine Guide
93 Points (Very Good+)
"The flavor profile is a tasty black currant and boysenberry blend with notes of oak and anise. I also detected hints of blueberry and espresso. The finish is dry and its moderate fine tannins are sticky and linger for quite some time."
Ken's Wine Guide
March 2012
Purely Domestic Wine Report
93 Points
"Shows a dark, brooding nose of black fruits, chocolate and coffee leading to a palate of intensely extracted black fruit lavished in fine-grained tannins."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
February 2012
Restaurant Wine
4+ Stars
"Rich and complex in style; a firm, well balanced wine with evident oak character and blackberry-cassis fruitiness."
Restaurant Wine
June 2012
2009 Arise
2009 Arise
Wine Review Online
95 Points
"The beautifully structured 2009 shows excellent concentration and density, with layers of red and black fruits, fine tannins and a long, spicy finish."
Robert Whitley, Wine Review Online (Today's Featured Wine)
April 2012
Wine Enthusiast
94 Points
"Editors' Choice - A glorious wine. Based on Merlot, with nearly equal parts of the two Cabernets, it's softly smooth and delicious right now. Totally bone dry, yet rich and sweet in cherries, berries, chocolate and cedar, it satisfies on every level..."
Wine Enthusiast (Best of Year Buying Guide, 2011)
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
93 Points
"Very much reminiscent of fine claret in structure but charged with lots of well-ripened Napa Valley fruit...it will age without risk for as long as a decade or more."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
November 2011
The Tasting Panel Magazine
91 Points
"Smooth, sweet toasted oak and lovely, lush texture; generous and balanced with depth and good length."
The Tasting Panel Magazine (Blue's Reviews Extra)
January 2012
Ken's Wine Guide
91 Points (Very Good+)
"This opaque and very dark ruby colored blend opens with a fragrant blackberry bouquet with a hint of black raspberry. On the palate, this wine is full bodied, balanced, dense and juicy. It does develop nicely with some aeration. The flavor profile is plum and black currant blend with notes of blueberry and oak..."
Ken's Wine Guide
November 2011
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
90 Points
"Bright, chewy and dry on the palate...This wine shows a lovely restrained sweetness and finishes with good shape and length"
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
May 2012
Restaurant Wine
4 Stars
"Round and full-bodied, this is a stylish, medium-rich blend that is well balanced. Excellent."
Restaurant Wine
June 2012

2008 Vintages

Top
2008 Paramour
2008 Paramour
JamesSuckling.com
92 Points
"Very ripe fruit on the nose, mostly cherries. Some mocha and spice undertones..."
JamesSuckling.com (California Cabernet Report June 2011)
June 2008
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"Shows a seamless palate entry with well-defined black currant, pure red and blue plum..."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
October 2011
Wine Enthusiast
91 Points
"Cellar Selection - Exuberantly rich in cherries and blackberries, with a huge, sweet and smoky coating of oak. The tannis are thick and dusty and flashy..."
Wine Enthusiast (Best of Year Buying Guide, 2011)
Wine Advocate
91 Points
"The wine is impressively rich and sexy..."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
December 2010
2008 Illustration
2008 Illustration
Wine Enthusiast
93 Points
"Lush, smooth and complex, this Merlot-based blend seems capable of a little developement in the cellar. It's pretty tannic, although the cherry fruit is sweet and bright..."
Wine Enthusiast
Purely Domestic Wine Report
93 Points
"A beautiful wine in the mouth, precise and pure entry with sculpted, mouth-coating flavors of blackberry, dark cherry and a bit of bittersweet java..."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
October 2011
JamesSuckling.com
90 Points
"I like the wet earth and fruit character on the nose and palate of this wine. It's full and supple with soft tannins and a long fresh finish..."
JamesSuckling.com (2008 California Cabernet Report)
June 2011
Wine Advocate
90 Points
"Possesses a dark ruby/purple color as well as big, sweet aromas of mocha, coffee bean, black cherries and spice box..."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
December 2010
2008 Contrarian
2008 Contrarian
JamesSuckling.com
91 Points
"This is a little jammy on the nose with lots of currants. Spicy at the front of the palate with ripe fruit and chocolate undertones..."
JamesSuckling.com (California Cabernet Report June 2011)
June 2008
Purely Domestic Wine Report
90 Points
"The nose is a soft chiffon of red cherry, blackberry that come together with excellent focus..."
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
October 2011
2008 Arriviste
2008 Arriviste
Ken's Wine Guide
89 Points (Very Good)
"This truly Rose colored wine opens with a fragrant strawberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, well balanced, and very smooth. The flavor profile of this wine is a mild mineral infused gentle strawberry with a touch of pomegranate and black cherry. The finish is very dry and rather refreshing."
Ken's Wine Guide
May 2011
2008 Arise
2008 Arise
The Wine Cult
95 Points
"The medium to full bodied palate shows layers of dark fruit, with elegant balance, velvety texture, and a nice generous finish."
The Wine Cult
September 2010
Wine Review Online
93 Points
"This beautiful wine exudes dark-fruited aromas, with a leafy note no doubt from the Cab Franc, in a rich layered, supple wine that be drunk now with great satisfaction. Or set it aside for additional aging that will only enhance an already delicious brew."
Wine Review Online
May 2011
Ken's Wine Guide
93 Points (Very Good)
"This dark ruby colored red blend from Blackbird is quite the crowd pleaser. It opens with a plum like bouquet with hints of blackberry..."
Ken's Wine Guide
April 2011
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
92 Points
"Supple, intense and energetic, with lovely rose petal lift and restrained sweetness to its seamless red fruit flavors. This essentially gentle, Right-Bank-style wine finishes with suave tannins and noteworthy aromatic persistence. A sentimental favorite in my recent tastings."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
May 2011
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
92 Points
"The three varietals are beautifully fit in this deep and very complex presentation. Long on ripe cherries, cassis, sweet oak and briary spice, the wine is at once both big and quite well-proportioned..."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
November 2010
Wine Advocate
91 Points
"The 2008 Arise reveals a sweeter, chocolate/cocoa scent intermixed with abundant notes of black currants, cherries and subtle herbs. With silky tannins and a fleshy, sexy, opulent personality, the wine lingers in the mouth."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Issue #192)
December 2010

2007 Vintages

Top
2007 Paramour
2007 Paramour
Wine Enthusiast
95 Points
"It's softly rich and polished in tannins, with accessible blackberry, cassis and oak flavors..."
Wine Enthusiast
February 2010
Vinography
9.5 /10 Points
"Medium garnet in the glass, this wine has a rich nose of cherry, black tea and light floral aromas. In the mouth it is smooth with lightly velvety tannins and joyous rich cherry and plum fruit."
Vinography
October 2009
Wine Advocate
93+ Points
"A sensational effort, the 2007 Paramour reveals the most saturated purple color of any of these wines. A blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, it possesses abundant notes of graphite, ink, spicy oak, creme de cassis, plums, and licorice."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
December 2009
JamesSuckling.com
93 Points
JamesSuckling.com (California Cabernet Report February 2011)
February 2007
Vinfolio
93 Points
"Some of the best Merlot-based wines out of the Napa Valley for this fantastic vintage. There are explosive aromas of dark fruit on the nose including blueberry, loganberry, and cassis, along with undertones of dark chocolate and cedar."
Vinfolio
November 2009
Ken's Wine Guide
93 Points
"This dark ruby red blend is fascinating. It opens with an attractive blueberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium to full bodied very well balanced, super silky, and elegant."
Ken's Wine Guide
October 2009
Wine & Spirits Magazine
91 Points
"Aaron Pott bases this blend on merlot grown at the Blackbird Vineyard (50 percent); the balance is cabernet franc (45) from the Crocker & Starr Vineyard in St. Helena and cabernet sauvignon."
Wine & Spirits Magazine
June 2010
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
91 Points
"Nose offers cherry and plum fruit aromas complicated by minerals and licorice and lifted by a floral nuance that shows evidence of the cab franc."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Issue 150)
May 2010
Purely Domestic Wine Report
90 Points
"Aromas: Lavender, cherry Palate: firm, floral, cherry, graphite and toast"
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
October 2009
2007 Illustration
2007 Illustration
Wine Enthusiast
97 Points
"A spectacular wine that gets better and better with every sip. It's dramatic from the get-go, with rich, fine tannins framing extraordinarily good flavors of blackberries, black currents, anise, dark chocolate and cedar."
Wine Enthusiast
February 2010
Vinography
9.5 /10 Points
"Medium garnet in the glass, this wine has a nose of tobacco, black cherry, and wet wood, with an aspect over time that is almost dusty.. Cost: $90. Where to buy?"
Vinography
October 2009
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
94 Points
"A deeper, more-layered and altogether richer look at Merlot than most, this compelling wine is long on sweet oak and rife with classic varietal black cherry fruit."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
November 2010
Wine Advocate
92 Points
"The 2007s ratchet up things. Composed of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2007 Illustration reveals sweeter fruit, more opulence and flamboyance, and plenty of spice, wood smoke, black currant, plum, and licorice notes."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
December 2009
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"Aromas: Subtle herb hints with cherry, graphite and salt Palate: Violet, herb, chocolate and espresso"
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
October 2009
JamesSuckling.com
91 Points
JamesSuckling.com (California Cabernet Report February 2011)
February 2007
Vinfolio
91 Points
"On the palate, it has a combination of tannins and grip which is elegantly balanced by dark berry fruit and cedar. This is certainly a wine that will be enjoyable for the next 15-20 years."
Vinfolio
November 2009
2007 Contrarian
2007 Contrarian
Vinography
9.5 /10 Points
"Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cocoa powder, cherry, and that light hint of green vegetable that suggests the Cabernet that plays a more dominant role in this wine."
Vinography
October 2009
Wine Advocate
94 Points
"Another noteworthy offering is the 2007 Contrarian, a blend of 46% Cabernet Franc, 34% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. This dense 2007 offers loads of licorice, black currant liqueur, camphor, charcoal, plum sauce, and spicy yet subtle oak in a complete, voluminous, full-bodied style."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
December 2009
JamesSuckling.com
93 Points
JamesSuckling.com (California Cabernet Report February 2011)
February 2007
Wine Enthusiast
93 Points
"Shows a molten core of blackberries, crème de cassis, cocoa and cider, with a mineral undertow."
Wine Enthusiast
February 2010
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
91 Points
"Saturated, bright red-ruby. Wild aromas of plum, dark cherry, leather and meat; distinctly Old World in character..."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Issue 150)
May 2010
Purely Domestic Wine Report
91 Points
"Aromas: Earthy loam, clove, salt and leather Palate: rich, smooth, evolved profile showing hints of lavender"
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
October 2009
Ken's Wine Guide
90 Points
"This dark ruby colored wine opens with a mild blackberry and black raspberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is full bodied, balanced, and very smooth."
Ken's Wine Guide
November 2009
Vinfolio
90 Points
"Tannins and structure abound, and while concentrated and powerful on the palate, this wine also contains bright and rich berry fruit..."
Vinfolio
November 2009
2007 Arise
2007 Arise
Wine Enthusiast
93 Points
"This Bordeaux blend has terrific a structure, with a molten core of ripe, sweetly complex blackberries and black currents."
Wine Enthusiast
February 2010
Wine Advocate
92 Points
"The dense ruby/purple-tinged 2007 Arise (75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) exhibits a mossy, forest floor, Burgundian-like component, medium to full body, outstanding balance, purity, and texture..."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
December 2009
Wine Spectator Magazine
91 Points
"Concentrated black currant and espresso aromas open to sleek yet complex blackberry, cedar and sage flavors that slowly build power and tannins on the finish."
Wine Spectator Magazine
December 2009
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
90 Points
"Sweet and creamy but with a firm spine of acidity framing the redcurrant flavor and giving the middle palate a juicy character. Finishes with attractive building sweetness..."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Issue 150)
May 2010
Ken's Wine Guide
90 Points
"On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, balanced, and fruit forward. The flavor profile is a blend of juicy blackberry and dusty black cherry with notes of integrated old oak."
Ken's Wine Guide
October 2009
Vinography
9 /10 Points
"Dark garnet in the glass, this wine has a nose of dark black cherry, tobacco and wet earth aromas. In the mouth it is velvety and nicely balanced."
Vinography
October 2009

2006 Vintages

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2006 Paramour
2006 Paramour
Restaurant Wine
5 /5 Stars
"Exceptional, fleshy, full, and long; a generously flavored wine..."
Restaurant Wine (Issue #129)
Vinfolio
94 Points
"The 20 months in French oak, 83% of which are new, contribute in part to the beautiful structure and silky tannins that fill the mouth and that lingering hint of pepper in the finish leaves one always wanting a little bit more."
Vinfolio
March 2009
Purely Domestic Wine Report
93 Points
"Aromas: Forward cherry and nougat with hints of berry and graphite Palate: Polished entry with licorice, cherry and toasted chocolate - full, polished black fruit"
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
October 2009
Wine Spectator Magazine
90 Points
"Dense and complex, with a touch of velvet to smooth it out. Aromas of black currant and espresso lead to layered cherry, blueberry and cedar flavors."
Wine Spectator Magazine
August 2009
2006 Illustration
2006 Illustration
Vinography
9.5 /10 Points
"In the mouth it is gorgeously smooth with bright cherry cola, chocolate, and juicy bing cherry flavors that dance on a lively bed of acidity. Velvety tannins sneak around the edges with a hint of sweetness and then pirouette slowly in the back of the throat for minutes. Fantastic."
Alder Yarrow, Vinography
October 2008
Vinfolio
94 Points
"This luxurious red is a treat now but definitely something to enjoy for at least the next 10-15 years."
Vinfolio
March 2009
Purely Domestic Wine Report
93 /100 Points
"Aromas: Black cherry, herb, graphite and quince Palate: Firm tannic entry with huge fruit; blackberry, polished cherry, chocolate and herb"
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
October 2009
Wine Advocate
91 Points
"The 2006 Illustration, a blend of 86% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, offers sweet, smoky, cola, black currant, coffee, new saddle leather, cocoa, spice box, and tobacco characteristics as well as a lush, round, heady mouthfeel."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
December 2009
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
90 Points
"Plenty of sweet black-cherry fruit and shows a nice flash of Merlot roundness..."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
September 2009
Restaurant Wine
4 /5 Stars
"Supple and full in style, with evident richness, fine balance, and a very long finish..."
Restaurant Wine (Issue #129)
2006 Contrarian
2006 Contrarian
Wine Advocate
92 Points
"The brilliant 2006 Contrarian (38% Cabernet Franc, 34% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon) reveals plum, licorice, and black currant fruit intertwined with a mocha, coffee, berry character that recalls a fine Right Bank wine from Bordeaux."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
December 2009
Purely Domestic Wine Report
92 Points
"Aromas: Rich polished cherry and camphor Palate: very pretty and full bodied, polished with excellent structure"
Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report
October 2009
2006 Arise
2006 Arise
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
93 Points
"Perfectly ripe cherries and shows layers of rich oak, sweet loam and hints of cola throughout its considerable length. Its integral spine of fine-grained tannins guarantee that it will grow over four to six years..."
Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
September 2009
Wine Advocate
91 Points
"The 2006 Arise (100% Merlot) possesses the most chocolate, cocoa, and charcoal notes along with lots of berry fruit, silky tannins, a lovely, medium to full-bodied, lush texture, and irresistible charm and appeal. Enjoy it over the next decade."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
December 2009
Wine Spectator Magazine
91 Points
"Dense and racy, with blackberry and spicy espresso aromas that lead to complex, layered currant, mocha and toasty sage flavors. Tannins firm up the finish. Merlot. Drink now through 2013."
Wine Spectator Magazine
July 2009