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The term ‘Cult Winery’ definitely gets thrown a lot unnecessarily but that truly is the best way to describe the Hundred Acre Vineyard project. No one is sure exactly how long the waitlist is, but the access to Ark, Kayli Morgan and Few Vineyards automatically propels this project into rare air. Put that together with Jayson Woodbridge and Philippe Melka the winemakers behind it, and this is one of the all-time Napa Cab Cult Collectors.
Woodbridge recently purchased a tiny, well-situated hillside parcel above the Eisele Vineyard, southeast of Calistoga. All things considered, this is an extraordinary group of wines. They are not easy to secure unless you are on Hundred Acre’s mailing list, but they are truly profound offerings that showcase a variety of Napa Valley terroirs as well as different harvesting and barrel aging techniques.
Dark Ark comes from the legendary Ark Vineyard, the 11-acre vineyard located on Glass Mountain above St. Helena at the base of Howell Mountain. It’s a darker, more minerally version of the regular Ark Vineyard bottling. It’s simply breathtaking especially in Napa’s outstanding 2018 vintage which is probably how it wound up with double 99+ point reviews from two separate expert reviewers. Because it’s Woodbridge and everything he makes is gold, I think there’s a reluctancy to give it a 100-point score, but double 99+ points says this one is still undoubtedly one of the greatest wines made anywhere in the 2018 vintage.
“Dark Ark is a selection of barrels from the Ark vineyard that were bottled separately. It comes from a pre-blending selection of barrels that were notably denser and more powerful than the others this vintage. Some of these were blended into the single-vineyard Ark label, but when their contribution to the blend began to detract from the essence of that wine, the remaining barrels were bottled separately. Jayson Woodbridge dubbed the wine “Dark Ark” and the name stuck.” -Lisa Perroti-Brown, The Wine Advocate
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99+ Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Dark Ark offers up gregarious notes of stewed plums, Christmas pudding, Chinese five spice and scorched earth, followed by suggestions of molten rocks, smoked meats, tilled soil and truffles. Full-bodied, the palate reveals tightly packed layers of black fruit preserves and earthy nuances, supported by ripe, fine-grained tannins and a lively backbone, finishing long and enticingly restrained.”
99+ Points, Jeb Dunnuck
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Dark Ark is unquestionably cut from the same cloth as the base Ark Vineyard, although, as the name suggests, it is slightly darker and more mineral-laced. Dense purple-hued, with powerful notes of blue fruits, smoked tobacco, violets, and damp earth, it has perfectly integrated background oak, ripe, building, flawless tannins, and a great, great finish, and I love its purity of fruit. This is going to benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age and keep through 2045.”
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