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charles krugCharles Krug winery is the oldest in Napa Valley having been founded in 1861 by the Prussian immigrant Charles Krug. The Mondavi family purchased it in 1943 and it remains in the family, co-owned by brothers Peter Mondavi Jr. and Marc Mondavi.

The Vintage Selection line is made from the best lots from their several Napa Valley vineyards. Although this is relatively affordable as Napa Cabs go these days, the quality of their grapes is evident in the still robust flavors and dynamic tension in the wine 13 years after vintage.

There remains too much non-integrated oak for my taste but this wine is still alive and will continue to age for several more years.

The nose shows pronounced graphite/wood aroma framing the rich blackberry and fig. Cocoa and a touch of smoke gently mingle while mint notes persist in the empty glass.

Tense yet composed movement canters over a lush, velvet foundation on the palate, although the pronounced cherry once again acquires wood notes and too much dissonant bitterness that can’t be overlooked. The wine expands generously at midpalate with a spine of firm gravel before launching a lengthy finish of powdery tannins.

Aeration is absolutely essential. Some of the wood notes back off and allow the wine’s lush underbelly to shine once sufficient oxygen is introduced.

A majestic wine but with something unsettling or fatalistic about it, perhaps hounded by tragedy, a reading that resonated with the Third Movement of Henryk Górecki ‘s Symphony No. 3, The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, Lento – Cantabile Semplice

Score: 91

Price: Recent vintages are around $100

Alc: 14.7%

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