Blackbird Vineyards Home

BlackMail Membership

Reviews

Vintages: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003


2015 Vintages

2015 Arriviste

2015 Arriviste Napa Valley Rosé

  • 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 Dissonance

2015 Dissonance

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni
    January 2017

Top

2014 Vintages

2014 Arriviste

2014 Arriviste Napa Valley Rosé

  • 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

  • Vinous Media

    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
    April 2015

  • 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

2014 Arise

2014 Arise

  • James Suckling

    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

  • Wine Enthusiast

    92 Points

    Full review coming soon...
    Wine Enthusiast

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

2014 Illustration

2014 Illustration

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni
    January 2017

2014 Paramour

2014 Paramour

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni
    January 2017

2014 Contrarian

2014 Contrarian

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni
    January 2017

Top

2013 Vintages

2013 Arriviste

2013 Arriviste Napa Valley Rosé

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Stephen Tanzer

    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

  • 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

2013 Arise

2013 Arise

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

  • 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 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

  • Wine Spectator

    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
    November 2015

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    October 2015

2013 Illustration

2013 Illustration

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    October 2015

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate

2013 Paramour

2013 Paramour

  • 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

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    October 2015

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate

2013 Contrarian

2013 Contrarian

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

  • 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

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    October 2015

Top

2012 Vintages

2012 Arriviste

2012 Arriviste Napa Valley Rosé

  • 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

  • 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

  • Stephan Tanzer

    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

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    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

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

2012 Illustration

2012 Illustration

  • 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
    August 2015

  • 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

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    December 2014

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate

2012 Paramour

2012 Paramour

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

  • James Suckling

    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

  • 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

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    December 2014

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate

2012 Contrarian

2012 Contrarian

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

  • James Suckling

    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

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    December 2014

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate

2012 Denary Cuveé

2012 Denary Cuveé

  • 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

  • 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

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    December 2014

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate

Top

2011 Vintages

2011 Arriviste

2011 Arriviste Napa Valley Rosé

  • Tanzer

    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

  • Stephen Tanzer

    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

  • 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

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    November 2013

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

  • 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

2011 Illustration

2011 Illustration

  • Stephen Tanzer

    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

  • Tasting Panel

    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

  • 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

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    November 2013

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

  • 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 Paramour

2011 Paramour

  • Stephen Tanzer

    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

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

  • Tasting Panel

    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

  • Vinous Media

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    November 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..."
    — Doug Wilder, purely domestic wine report
    November 2013

2011 Contrarian

2011 Contrarian

  • Stephen Tanzer

    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

  • James Suckling

    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

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    91 Points

    "It is surprisingly accessible, refined and wonderfully well-polished even while being solid and sturdy..."
    Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
    April 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

    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."
    — Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media
    November 2013

  • Purely Domestic Wine Report

    94 Points

    "A vibrant currant, berry and herbal-licorice nose. Beautifully polished palate entry, with firm, dark berries and espresso."
    — Doug Wilder, purely domestic wine report
    November 2013

Top

2010 Vintages

2010 Arriviste

2010 Arriviste Napa Valley Rosé

  • Wine Spectator

    Recommended

    Rosés from Around the World
    (100 rosés on the list with only 3 recommended from Napa Valley)
    Wine Spectator
    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

  • 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

  • Gary Vaynerchuk

    "Just had the best Rosé I have had from California... Maybe ever... Like find it... Wow!"
    Gary Vaynerchuk via Twitter
    February 2011

2010 Arise

2010 Arise

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate
    October 2013

  • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

    90+ Points

    "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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

2010 Illustration

2010 Illustration

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate
    October 2013

  • Wine Spectator

    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
    November 2013

  • 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

  • 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

    /li>
  • 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

  • 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

2010 Paramour

2010 Paramour

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate
    October 2013

  • Wine Spectator

    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
    June 2013

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

    /li>
  • 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."
    Doug Wilder, purely domestic wine report
    November 2012

2010 Contrarian

2010 Contrarian

  • James Suckling

    92 Points

    "Attractive dark berries, dried chili pepper and hints of herbs. Full-bodied, pretty, polished and chewy."
    JamesSuckling.com
    May 2014

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate
    October 2013

  • Wine Spectator

    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
    June 2013

  • Restaurant Wine

    4+/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

  • 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

  • Connoisseurs Guide

    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

  • 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

Top

2009 Vintages

2009 Arise

2009 Arise

  • Restaurant Wine

    4 stars

    "Round and full-bodied, this is a stylish, medium-rich blend that is well balanced. Excellent."
    Restaurant Wine
    June 2012

  • Tanzer

    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

  • Wine Review

    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."
    Today's Featured Wine
    Robert Whitley, April 2012

  • Tasting Panel

    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

  • 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

  • Ken's Wine Guide

    Very Good+ - 91 Points

    "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

2009 Illustration

2009 Illustration

  • Restaurant Wine

    4 stars

    "Full bodied and intensely flavored, this is a supple, concentrated wine...Can be aged. Excellent."
    Restaurant Wine
    June 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

  • Tanzer

    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

  • 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

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    92 Points

    "Blueberry and black currant in the nose, it shows a somewhat youthfully angular palate with polished black fruits in the core."
    Doug Wilder, 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

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

  • 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

  • Tanzer

    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

  • 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

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    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 Contrarian

2009 Contrarian

  • 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

  • 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

  • Tanzer

    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 26 2012

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    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

Top

2008 Vintages

2008 Arriviste

2008 Arriviste

  • Ken's Wine Guide

    Very Good - 89 Points

    "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

  • 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/June 2011

  • winereviewonline.com

    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."
    winereviewonline.com
    May 2011

  • Ken's Wine Guide

    Very Good - 93 Points

    "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

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate
    Issue #192, December 2010

  • 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

  • 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

2008 Illustration

2008 Illustration

  • 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 Enthusiast

    93 Points

    Wine Enthusiast
    "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..."

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    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

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate
    December 2010

2008 Paramour

2008 Paramour

  • Jamessuckling.com

    92 Points

    "Very ripe fruit on the nose, mostly cherries. Some mocha and spice undertones..."
    — Jamessuckling.com, 2008 California Cabernet Report
    June 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

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    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

  • The Wine Advocate

    91 Points

    "The wine is impressively rich and sexy..."
    — Robert Parker's The 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, 2008 California Cabernet Report
    June 2011

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    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

Top

2007 Vintages

2007 Arise

2007 Arise

  • 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/June 2010

  • 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

  • 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's The Wine Advocate
    December 2009

  • Wine Spectator

    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
    December 2009 Insider Edition

  • 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: A Wine Blog
    October 2009

2007 Illustration

2007 Illustration

  • Jamessuckling.com

    91 Points

    — Jamessuckling.com, 2007 California Cabernet Report
    February 2011

  • 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 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

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate
    December 2009

  • 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

  • Vinography

    Between 9 and 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: A Wine Blog
    October 2009

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    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

2007 Paramour

2007 Paramour

  • Jamessuckling.com

    93 Points

    — Jamessuckling.com, 2007 California Cabernet Report
    February 2011

  • Wine & Spirits

    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
    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/June 2010

  • Wine Enthusiast

    95 Points

    "It's softly rich and polished in tannins, with accessible blackberry, cassis and oak flavors.."
    Wine Enthusiast
    February 2010

  • 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's The Wine Advocate
    December 2009

  • 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

  • Vinography

    Between 9 and 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: A Wine Blog
    October 2009

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    90 Points

    "Aromas: Lavender, cherry
    Palate: firm, floral, cherry, graphite and toast"
    Doug Wilder, purely domestic wine report
    October 2009

2007 Contrarian

2007 Contrarian

  • Jamessuckling.com

    93 Points

    — Jamessuckling.com, 2007 California Cabernet Report
    February 2011

  • 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/June 2010

  • Wine Enthusiast

    93 Points

    "Shows a molten core of blackberries, crème de cassis, cocoa and cider, with a mineral undertow."
    Wine Enthusiast
    February 2010

  • 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's The Wine Advocate
    December 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 pts

    "Tannins and structure abound, and while concentrated and powerful on the palate, this wine also contains bright and rich berry fruit..."
    Vinfolio
    November 2009

  • 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: A Wine Blog
    October 2009

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    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

Top

2006 Vintages

2006 Arise

2006 Arise

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate
    December 2009

  • 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 Spectator

    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 Online
    July 2009

2006 Illustration

2006 Illustration

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate
    December 2009

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    93 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 4/5 stars

    "Supple and full in style, with evident richness, fine balance, and a very long finish..."
    Restaurant Wine
    Issue #129

  • 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."
    Vinography, Alder Yarrrow Review
    October 2008

2006 Paramour

2006 Paramour

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    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

    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 Online
    August 2009

  • 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

  • 5/5 stars

    "Exceptional, fleshy, full, and long; a generously flavored wine..."
    Restaurant Wine
    Issue #129

2006 Contrarian

2006 Contrarian

  • The 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's The Wine Advocate
    December 2009

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    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 Illustration

2006 Proprietary Red

  • Wine Spectator

    90 Points

    "Shows lovely structure and finesse, offering currant and green olive aromas and appealing plum, sage and toasty vanilla notes that linger on the long finish. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2014."
    Wine Spectator Online
    November 2008

Top

2005 Vintages

2005 Paramour

2005 Paramour

  • Vintrust

    98 Points

    Aroma: Ruby Fruit, Cocoa, Black Plum - 15/15
    Flavor: Black Coffee, Violet, Black Raspberry - 15/15
    Structure: Integrated Tannins, Cleansing Acidity - 15/15
    Length: Long Finish of Black Fruit and Mocha - 14/15
    Balance: Bordeaux-like Structure, Subtleness - 38/40
    Optimum Drinking - 2007-2020

    "Paramour is the latest release from Blackbird Vineyards. The gravel and clay vineyard was purchased by proprietor Michael Polenske in 2003...Winemaker Sarah Gott is formerly of Joseph Phelps Vineyards."
    Vintrust
    November 2007

2006 Illustration

2005 Proprietary Red

  • Wine Spectator

    90 Points

    "Aromas of plum and roasted sage lead to intense, youthful black cherry, cracked pepper and licorice flavors, finishing with rich, loamy tannins. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon."
    — Wine Spectator
    March 2008

  • The Wine Advocate

    Robert Parker Rating: 91 Points

    "The 2005 Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of 96% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, all from the Oak Knoll sector of Napa. With terrific fruit, medium to full body, supple tannin, and well-integrated acidity and alcohol, it should be drunk over the next 8-10 years."
    — The Wine Advocate
    December 2007

  • Vinfolio

    Vinfolio Rating: 94 Points

    "The wine shows a nose of vibrant cassis, orange skins, dark cherry, blueberry, lavender, chocolate, licorice and slate aromas. The palate breaks in with hints of meaty olive shading seductive kirsch and black plum flavors. Bold and smooth on the finish. Continues to evolve over 80 hours."
    Vinfolio
    September 2007

Top

2004 Vintages

2006 Illustration

2004 Proprietary Red

  • Doug Wilder The Purely Domestic Wine Blog

    92 Points

    "Aromas: evolved nose, showing that it is entering maturity
    Palate: polished delicate leather hints, cherry and blueberry"
    Doug Wilder, purely domestic wine report
    October 2009

  • Four Stars + (out of Five)

    "Fleshy and full bodied, this is a fine Merlot, tasting of plum, black cherry, blueberry, and toast, with a smooth, long, lightly tannic finish. Pomerol-like, in the best sense. Unfined, unfiltered. 5% CS. 1,100 cases."
    Restaurant Wine, By Ronn Weigand

  • Vintrust

    97 Points

    Aroma: Dark Black Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Mocha - 14/15
    Flavor: Brownies, Cherry Liqueur, Dark Currants - 15/15
    Structure: Powerful, Extracted, Medium Tannins - 15/15
    Length: Long Dark Fruit, Concentration, Extracted - 14/15
    Balance: Impeccable balance of alcohol and fruit - 39/40
    Optimum Drinking - 2007-2020

    "The wine is a powerful, rich, massive and extracted version of plebian Merlot styles and it is truly destined to become a true cult classic."
    — Vintrust
    September 2007

  • winereviewonline.com

    93 Points

    Born to Fly...
    "The vineyard called Blackbird Vineyards is a small, ten-acre property in the Oak Knoll District of southern Napa Valley that was planted to Merlot in 1997. Until 2003, grapes from this vineyard went into the wines of elite Napa Valley producers including Selene, where Mia Klein made an acclaimed vineyard-designated Merlot from this property. The property changed hands in 2003, and now respected winemaker Sarah Gott is custodian of the fruit.

    The new owner of Blackbird Vineyards is Michael Polenske, who gave up an illustrious career in finance (for example, he was at one time President and Chief Executive Officer of Chase Manhattan Bank & Trust Co., N.A., heading up the private banking business in the Western U.S.) to pursue his dream of making wine. The winery brands itself an 'artisanal producer of Pomerol-inspired wines.

    The 2004 Blackbird Vineyards wine is 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon but it is labeled as a proprietary wine rather than as a varietal Merlot. Although I consider the word 'elegant' to be over-used to the point of being almost meaningless, I must admit that this is a supremely elegant Merlot wine.

    The 2004 Blackbird Vineyards wine has enough fruity character to be impressive if you drink it now, but its firm structure and its concentration suggest that it will evolve beautifully for many years, most likely becoming rounder as its tannins integrate completely. For collectors, it is a wine worth collecting."
    — By Mary Ewing-Mulligan
    April 2007

Top

2003 Vintages

2006 Illustration

2003 Merlot

  • "$70 Every wine tells a story. Michael Polenske's Blackbird Vineyard tells a story you've probably heard before. The grapes grown on the property have been sold to Behrens & Hitchcock, Lail, Shafer, Pride and Robert Foley Vineyards in the past, as well as to Mia Klein's private label, Selene, with a Blackbird Vineyard designated label. Sarah Gott shines as Polenske's winemaker of choice. She left Joseph Phelps and Quintessa to make a splash in a few smaller ponds. (She also makes the following wine). It is with wines like this that we never question why we are in this business."
    — Acme Fine Wines
    October 2005

  • Sommscore: 95

    AROMA dark cherry, slate, mineral, licorice 14
    FLAVOR fleshy red cherry, fennel spice, earth 14
    STRUCTURE medium-bodied, chewy tannins, bright acid 14
    LENGTH persistent, hedonistic length 15
    BALANCE well endowed with acids, tannins, fruit 38
    Drinkability: 2010 - 2025

    "Heady aromas of dark cherry, a slate/lead minerality and a hint of anise introduce this brooding monster. Medium-bodied, the palate exhibits a great texture of medium tannins, with notes of red licorice, fennel and red cherry. Definitely not a cocktail wine, this Merlot blossomed with food, revealing its complexity and richness. While the wine opened up in the glass, five to ten years in the cellar will reward you with an exemplary drink."
    — Vintrust
    Fall 2005

  • Vinfolio

    98 Points

    "There's rare, and then there's really rare... The stunning debut of Blackbird Vineyards"

    "Beginning in 1999, Mia Klein, owner and winemaker of Selene Winery introduced a vineyard designate Merlot from Blackbird Vineyards, south of Yountville. This bottling quickly gained wide acclaim among the trade and I noted the 1999 vintage (95 points) as my recommendation over the much heralded 2001 Paloma Merlot (Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 2003). I very quietly sold dozens of cases of Selene's Blackbird to my clients who wanted to know what I was so excited about. It wasn't long until the mere mention of Blackbird stopped people in their tracks. It was the best Merlot nobody had ever heard of.

    In 2003, the vineyard changed hands. While most of the fruit that year went to Shafer, Behrens & Hitchcock, Viader, and Lail, new owner Michael Polenske and winemaker Sarah Gott carved out a miniscule amount of fruit to begin his legacy. This wine not only follows in the footsteps of the string of the superb Blackbird Vineyards Merlot made by Klein, it sets a new standard unsurprisingly from the same source. An important note here is that as great as the Selene Blackbird was, it only contained 55% of Blackbird fruit. The 2003 is sourced 100% from the vineyard.

    Michael and I tasted his 2003 Blackbird last Friday at my office in St. Helena, and I was left with an extremely solid impression of 94 + points. When finished with our meeting, I put the cork back in the bottle and left it on my desk to revisit Monday. The evolution left me speechless..."
    — The Wilder Side of California
    Doug Wilder, Issue 20
    St. Helena, CA - October 2005

Top


Black Bird     Join the Flock

Black Bird    Trade & Media

Join us on Facebook Instagram Watch us on YouTube

Bespoke Collection

stats