NAPA VALLEY WINE PICK: pureCru | Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa Valley | California | 2009 | $42 | 93 pts

pureCru Cab 09A number of years ago, long-time Napa Valley winemaker Mitch Cosentino relinquished his remaining interests in the winery he established in the 1980s — Cosentino Winery, on Highway 29 in Yountville — and along with several partners founded a new venture called pureCru Napa Valley.  Cosentino is widely respected for his dedication to hand-crafting wines — especially blends — in small lots with fruit sourced from the best vineyards throughout Napa Valley, and he is in full and fine form with his pureCru bottlings.

PureCru’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is a case in point: Cabernet-driven (78%) — with a generous dose of Cabernet Franc (16%) and splash of Merlot (6%) — this wine is lavishly aromatic of ripe red fruits and mixed peppercorns, with flavors that are more restrained but nevertheless deeply expressive of red plum, dried mixed berries, and candied orange peel.  Suggestions of  shaved dark chocolate, caramelized sugar, and toasted almonds lend complexity and intrigue to the mix.

Several characteristics of this wine really impressed us.  First, it is a young Napa Valley Cabernet that is immediately enjoyable:  medium-full bodied, with moderate acids, approachable tannins, and balanced oak.  While the wine spent 34 months in French oak barrels, it is no “oak bomb;” the oak is present and toasty, no doubt, but not harsh or splintery.  Second, the wine is vividly focused — but not heavy — on the palate, with a beam of pure, clean fruit stretching from front to back over a lingering, velvety finish.  And finally, it is a superbly crafted Cabernet Sauvignon for a price that is modest and reasonable by Napa Valley standards.

Lasting Impression:  PureCru’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that offers appreciable depth without unnecessary weight, skillfully encompassing all the dimensions expected of a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon while preserving elegance and adding flourishes of the exotic. We highly recommend it.

Availability:  PureCru wines are produced in limited quantities, but they do enjoy some national distribution.  We found the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon at Total Wine in Alexandria, Virginia (www.totalwine.com), and it is available at many Total Wine stores nationwide.  You also may purchase pureCru wines directly through their website — www.purecruwines.com — or by visiting their tasting room at 1463 First Street, Napa, California 94559.

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