2012 Joyce Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Russell’s Vineyard, Estate, Carmel Valley.
An impressive Bordeaux like performance from Russell Joyce’s estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, recently tasted at Joyce Vineyards Carmel Valley tasting room, this library selection showing fine form and structure, gaining more fruit definition with air along with traditionally gripping/powerful tannins that seem to be integrating and allowing layers of detail to show through. Bright sweet dark fruits, light acacia flowers and earthy loam lead the way with mouth tingling intensity with blackberry, plum/mulberry, tangy currant and juicy cherry fruits flow across the medium full palate as well as spicy tobacco leaf and cedar notes add savory contrast. Faint green and graphite elements remind you of the Medoc, as does the firm mouth feel, this is a wine with a ripe core that keeps trying to take control, without quite getting there, the tense battle between the tannin and fruit looks to continue for a few more years without an ultimate winner, so best to enjoy this wine serious cuisine to bring out the best here, again similar to Chateau Pape Clement in Pessac Leognan and or maybe more like Chateau Montrose’s Saint-Estephe La Dame de Montrose the estate’s second label. Grown not far from the Carmel Valley Village this tiny hillside vineyard gets plenty of sun, but still feels cheerfully fresh with cool climate acidity, it certainly doesn’t get thickly opulent, it has a more austere presence in the glass to go with it’s opaque garnet/purple color, it’s an old school and slightly rustic Cabernet Sauvignon that delivers a well made value. The dusty, spicy and stoney character is a throwback to a different era, one that intrigues and beguiles as well does the lingering blueberry, minty herb, anise, smoky oak and violette, drink this one between 2018 and 2022. Joyce is making a stunning array of wines from dry Riesling, Syrah, Chardonnay and an awesome set of single vineyard Pinots to a powerful group of Cabernets, Mourvedre and Bordeaux blends from a variety of sites in Monterey County and San Benito County, this is a winery on the move and the passion and hark work show up clearly in these wines.
($44 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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