When a winemaker blends Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, you expect a wine that can barely restrain the headlong rush of fruits. And the 2014 Red Blend from Larkspur Cellars does send fresh, juicy cherries and plums tumbling over the palate.
Yet there is a sense of composure to this 40-40-20 mix (the 20 percent is Malbec). Even on the nose it leaves enough room for wafts of cassis and cedar, a trace of vanilla and soft pellets of crushed graphite. A saucy, spicy streak appears when sipped. It trails behind the first blush of fruit and steps forward as the cheerful trill of cherry wanes. These are warm notes – earthy, toasted spices like cinnamon and clove that blunt the tingle of cedar also lurking in the background.
The wine is both elegant and purely enjoyable. Now here’s the bad news. The winemaker – Aaron Hoops – produced just the 2014 vintage and then stopped. Sovino Wine Bar may have a few bottles. Village Wine and Tap Room sold six cases in just a few months. Only four remain.
VILLAGE WINE & TAP ROOM, 19 E. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. 760-224-5675.