I'm often asked by people going to Napa, "What are the best wineries in Napa to visit?" Larkmead is always at the top of my list. It's not because of some grand architectural achievement in their tasting room or some hillside scenic view, it's because Larkmead is producing some of the best quality wines in Napa Valley, and the prices remain fair. Their Merlot-dominant Firebelle is a perfect example of this. It has all the textural richness and fruit of Napa while still showing hints of the earth from which it came, a true sense of place.
I found a Roast Leg of Lamb with Herbs to be an excellent pairing. The herbal, gamey flavors of the lamb are perfectly contrasted by the Firebelle's elegant fruit and earth. What's more, this pairing isn't a competition. Instead it's a team effort, as both the Firebelle and the lamb balance each other out and create a wonderful experience on the palate.
2008 Larkmead Vineyards Firebelle - The nose showed black currant, cherry liquor, spice, brown sugar and a hint of fresh-turned soil. On the palate, it was velvety smooth and luxuriant with blackberry jam, cherry wood and spice. The finish was exceptionally long with blackberry and currant fruit, yet fresh and begging for another sip.