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modus operandi antithesisThis proprietary blend earns the label blockbuster. On the nose, deep, ripe blackberry and dried fig are kissed with lavender, licorice and baking spice all wrapped in a sheer cloak of vanilla. The palate is luscious and creamy with chocolate notes adding to the impression of opulence. But this is no flabby fruit bomb. Taut acidity keeps this luxury liner afloat ushering in a long, flavorful finish with finely-etched tannins. Broad and dimensional with great depth, exquisite balance, and great originality, there is no doubt it hails from Napa but this is a work of art beyond categorization.

This is one of those brooding wines that you can lose yourself in for an entire evening.

The winemaking is equally fascinating. A portion of the juice is handled in a modified ripasso style, with some juice drained off to increase skin contact and then given an additional high dose of fresh skins late in the fermentation process, before adding the main blending grape. The 100% new French oak for 22 months is necessary to handle all this structure imparted by the massive skin to juice ratio. The result is both intriguing and delicious satisfying the mind and the heart.

The mad genius behind Antithesis is winemaker Jason Moore, a Dallas Texas native who came to Napa in 2002 looking to break into the wine biz, told the theory-based profs at UC Davis to kiss-off, and developed his own “modus operandi” with the help of many mentors who recognized his emerging talent. This is a David and Goliath story—a small case production label built from scratch in the land of celebrity winemakers and wealthy investors looking for a tax write-off.

Antithesis is the capstone  of a stunning lineup that includes several blends, a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and a Sauvignon Blanc that blew me away at a recent tasting.

The massive, incredibly beautiful San Jacinto, Peter Gabriel’s best, captures the mood of this wine.

Score: 95

Price: $110

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