90
Trinchero 2012 Forte Napa Valley 14.9% $70
This estate-grown wine boasts exceptional concentration. In fact, it’s a bit of a monster! It is inky black in color, bold in its full body and strident in grainy tannins. Alas, this is a classic case of a high-end wine seeing a shelf far before its time, even if it is now four years post-vintage.

But, go ahead and buy it. Then, try to leave it alone a few years before you come back to open it. This blend of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is superbly pure and supremely ripe. Blackcurrants and mulberries abound and create a delightful fusion. In addition, licorice, cola and cinnamon stick swirl across the palate. While the firm structure is well-balanced (I was surprised by the high alcohol level on the label – never would have guessed), the demanding new French oak (60% new) flavors and pithily tannic structure haven’t yet found their harmony.
Drink: 2018-22

88
Trinchero 2012 
BRV Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley  14.8% $80
Tasting this pure Cabernet Sauvignon feels like hitting a brick wall. On the sniff, you’re heading in the right direction, then the palate spins you on your heels. It smells of dark chocolate and toasted wood with an enticing complement of richly ripe blackcurrants. However, it quickly becomes clear on the palate that it tastes more of human idealism and interpretation than its terroir. However, that’s not to say it isn’t a good wine. While I don’t agree with its back label that says it is the “pinnacle of the portfolio” (see the Forte note above), I do appreciate the wine’s fresh fruit and varietal character. Moreover, the fruit flavors flourish on the lingering finish, as if escaping the embrace of its overwhelming oak influence.

I sometimes taste a wine and know I would score it higher in the future, after it has evolved. With those wines, their equilibriums are already established and they just need time to flourish in the bottle. I’m not sure here, given the massive oak influence and lightly pronounced alcohol, but I would be happy to taste this wine again in several years to see where it goes.
Drink: 2018-22