As the longtime Winemaker for Napa Valley Cabernet producers Realm Cellars, Rockledge Vineyards, and Sherwin Family Vineyards, Mike decided it was time to make a Cabernet-based wine for Relic — but with a twist. An homage to vignerons in Bordeaux, who added Syrah to Cabernet-based wines to deepen the color and enhance the aromatics, Artefact pushes the boundaries in the best possible way, with full black-fruit complexity and ultra-fine tannins. Deep, dark aromatics of blackberry, anise, chocolate, vanilla, and violet emanate from the glass. The rich palate is full and plush, with ultra-soft tannins and great intensity, leading to a finish that is supple and long, with a great balance of elegance and power. The Syrah kicks in to finish it off with a lingering note of black pepper.
($65; a blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 30% petit verdot and 10% syrah) Bright medium ruby. Lively aromas of black cherry, dark raspberry and flowers. High-toned, fine-grained and superconcentrated but quite powerful and youthfully closed today, despite boasting a rather creamy texture. A big boy that finishes with major tannins that hit the palate late. The cabernet here is from an alluvial gravel and clay hillside in the cool Coombsville area.