This wine is a pretty different blend than last year’s version, and frankly it’s much more successful. For 2009, the composition is 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec, 21% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petite Sirah, and 4% Merlot, all from Livermore Valley. To put that in comparison, in 2008 the percentage of Malbec was 4%, the smallest part of the blend.
Here we have a rich and lightly smoky wine that manages to keep its inkier components in check. A bit raisiny, a bit of prune, and a hefty amount of wood — almost whiskey-like — but held back by a decent level of plummy fruit, a touch of spice, and even some vanilla. This is a much better, and more balanced, wine than the 2008, and worthy on its own.
B+ / $25 / murrietaswell.com