Sweet and soft on the nose with early accents of mocha, sweet tobacco leaf, allspice and brown sugar joined by dried bay leaf and black currants. On entry this shows excellent integration and while there is plenty of acidity here, it is held nicely in check by the rich yet not weighty fruit. The oak is well measured as well, yielding a rather seamless wine with attractive herb, toast and blackcurrant flavors; elegant and bright with refreshing acidity on the moderately long finish which ends with cinnamon dusted red berry fruits. This probably won't wow many, but it drinks quite well in a rather classic modern Napa Valley style. Snappy, clean and crisp. 89pts    
 
 
A touch of dusty earth, perhaps even stemmy on the nose, which also shows red currant fruit, well measured vanilla and lightly toasted spices and a touch of toasted almond and dry fruit.  Medium bodied and fairly bright on entry, this blends some riper flavors of dried fruit and prune with light caramel edges and layers it all over red currant and cherry fruit. There are nice spice and vanilla accents showing on the mid palate that add complexity but don’t overpower the fruit, leading to a slightly tannic but palate-freshening finish thats pretty long with lingering, slightly spicy black cherry flavors and lightly chewy fruit tannins. With air, a subtle herbal note emerges on the palate as well. Love the way this feels in the mouth, though the flavors are just a touch riper than a very solid value. 88pts

2010 Don & Sons Cabernet Sauvignon B Side Napa Valley 13.7% $22
 
Dark and sweet on the nose with plenty of chocolate and toasty oak notes over a base of herb-brushed, lightly roasted blackberry fruit. Light and dry on entry, this is rather poised in the mouth and not at all in the common soft style of Napa Valley today. The flavors are well anchored by good acidity and dry, earthy tannins, showing a suggestion of herb, a touch of tobacco and light cedar accents to the red and black currant fruit. The back end shows a little oak, nothing too obvious, and it drives the moderately long finish, which picks up a touch more herb and fruit character. This is relatively complex and elegant in a masculine way.  88pts
 
 
Rich and dark on the nose with fine earth and dried herb base notes topped with vanilla, wood toast, black cherry licorice, and blackcurrant aromas. This is a pretty spicy Cabernet, with notes of black pepper and licorice interwoven with sweeter notes of vanilla and toast on a bed of dry blackberry and black cherry fruit. the tannins are a bit spiky, but pleasant—more hard than abundant—and they add some nice cut to the palate and extend on to the slightly astringent yet well-fruited finish. A nice blend of wine that toes the line between traditional and modern. Would be best with food. 88pts
 
 
Pretty intense on the nose, with aromas of cocoa, caramel, mocha, earth, dried herbs and licorice over a base of cola tinged plummy fruit. A large scaled opulent wine, this is dense and dark as it spread across the palate delivering dark, musky fruit drenched in briary, licorice and oaky flavors. The finish is cut short by fairly aggressive tannins and shows a decidedly minty edge to the rich chocolaty flavors and has some obvious heat. A powerful wine but one that lacks detail and elegance. 88pts  
 
 
Vanilla, herbs, raw wood and jujube aromas greet the nose. Subtly complex with a light gaminess to the black fruit on the nose. Smooth and polished with nary an edge to be seen though the flavors here run towards the oakier, savory end of the spectrum with lots of mocha, cocoa, and dried spice flavors framing nice blueberry fruit. Well balanced and interesting, this lacks some complexity and depth but should make for fine early drinking. The finish is fairly short with some drying wood tannins and toasty spice notes. 87pts    
 
 
A touch sweet and toasty on the nose with a nice light licorice top not floating over moderately spicy and slightly leathery black fruit. Balanced and focused on entry with a nice integrated, decidedly medium-bodied mouth feel and layered flavors of toasty oak, leather, licorice, black plum skin, and a touch of green walnut. This turns a touch minty on the back end where the sweetness of wood picks up a bit, leading to a moderately long finish that shows a bit of oaky harshness and more licorice notes. 87pts