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Newton Puzzle


2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley

WA 94-96

The proprietary Bordeaux blend, the 2004 The Puzzle (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc) is a brilliant 1,000-case cuvee, showing the fabulous mountain terroir of the Newton Vineyard. This wine was still not in bottle when I tasted it, but by the time this report comes out, it will have been bottled unfiltered. Deep ruby/purple to the rim, with an exuberant display of aromatics consisting of black tea, creme de cassis, charcoal, incense, and again some truffle notes, the wine is full-bodied, with nicely integrated acidity, wood, tannin, and the influence of barriques kept well in the background. This is a big but impressively well-balanced wine that should come into its own in 3-4 years and last for 20-25 years.

One of the most spectacularly beautiful vineyards, high on the lower slopes of Spring Mountain, is Newton Vineyards. Organically farmed and impeccably manicured, this was one of the first outposts to which famed Bordeaux consultant Michel Rolland came, and an entire generation of winemakers formed by his brilliance have emerged from Newton. The overall style of the wine is one built on European elegance and longevity. The vintages from the early 1990s are still doing well, especially the 1990 and 1991.


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