2003 Larkmead Firebelle Proprietary Blend
100% Estate grown fruit at Larkmead Vineyards
54% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec
Aged in 55 % new French oak barrels for 19 months
1,129 cases produced
"Our premier release under the 'Firebelle' designation, this wine evolved from our varietally labeled Merlot bottling. The goal here is to increase the structure and density to the wine with some cassis-driven, powerful Cabernet and to intensify the aromatics with the violet/licorice scented Malbec. Fans of our broadly flavored Merlot will still find its telltale rich texture and spicy fruit, but additional darker flavors and a longer finish add to the experience. This new blend also truly reflects the diversity our Estate has to offer as it represents our three distinctive soil types. The Merlot is grown in light clay-dominated soils for great richness of texture, Cabernet on deep rocky gravels for graphite minerality and earthy structure and Malbec on gravelly-loam for pungent aromatics and concentrated density. We hope you enjoy the combination.
Highly aromatic nose combines blackberry, violet and signature Larkmead dried herb, floral perfume. The palate is dense yet fresh and balanced. Intense black cherry and cassis flavors are supported by a strong sense of bright minerality and charcoal barrel elements. The broad mid-palate expands with great inner mouth ripeness and full sweet tannins extend the back end.
Decant for an hour in its youth to enjoy the wine's full range of flavors and to experience how the flavors darken with time in the glass. This large-scaled wine will improve for 4 to 5 years in bottle and hold for a decade."
— Andy Smith, Winemaker
Robert Parker - 92 POINTS Wine Advocate, 12-26-05, Issue 162
"The 2003 Firebelle (54% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Malbec) exhibits a beautiful perfume of spring flowers interwoven with spice box, mocha, black cherry liqueur, and a hint of cassis. Elegant, dense, medium to full bodied, supple and voluptuous, it should be enjoyed over the next 7-10 years."