Mature and Elegant Napa Cab With “Cult” Beginnings

Today’s Story: BOND

BOND was established in 1996 by H. William Harlan and Bob Levy with the goal of creating single vineyard designate wines from a small number of carefully selected Napa Valley vineyards of “Grand Cru” quality. Though BOND does not own their vineyard sites, they currently have partnerships with five vineyard owners and all vineyard management is done by the BOND team themselves rather than the owners. Today BOND produces the Grand Crus of Melbury (est. 1999), Vecina (est. 1999), St. Eden (est. 2001), Pluribus (est. 2003), and Quella (est. 2006). They also craft a second wine called Matriarch (which I am reviewing today) and it is a blend of all five sites from the wine not included in the Grand Cru bottlings. The five vineyard sites are small hillside vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon, ranging from 7 to 11 acres in size. Total annual production for each Cru ranges from about 400-700 cases, whereas production of the Matriarch is less than 1,500 cases.

Today’s Wine: 2002 Matriarch

100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.5% ABV

The 2002 Matriarch is deep garnet in color but it is still incredibly dark and opaque for its age. I decanted this for sediment, but it really only took about 30 minutes to show beautifully. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the incredibly complex nose showcasing notes of crème de cassis, stewed plum, prune, fig, licorice, cigar box, leather, damp earth, graphite, mushroom, dried green herbs, and chocolate. Flavors are also of pronounced intensity, and the equally complex palate displays notes of blackberry, blackcurrant, black cherry, fig, rich baked plum, tobacco, licorice, charred herbs, wet soil, cocoa powder, and coffee grounds. This dry red is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, mature medium tannins, high alcohol, and a long finish. Absolutely gorgeous, and I don’t think it gets any better from here.

Price: $180. This is very appropriately priced, and given the rest of the wines in the Harlan family portfolio it offers great value if you’d like to see what their wines are all about. With the Matriarch much like the Mascot, these are wines that remain a staple for me when I purchase my Napa Cab allocations.

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