'Prince of Hearts' Paradise Hills Vineyard, Napa Valley, CA
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The 2010 Prince of Hearts Paradise Hills Vineyard is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest mostly Merlot blended with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It offers up scents of unsmoked cigar tobacco, underbrush, forest floor, black currants, cherries, plums and Asian spice. With soft tannins, it is meant to be consumed over the next decade.
The Blankiet Estate owned by Claude and Katherine Blankiet is beautifully situated on the lower hillsides of the Mayacamas Mountains, just behind the large Napanook estate of Dominus. An enviable group of talented people have provided assistance here, beginning with David Abreu, Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer, followed by Michel Rolland, Martha McLellan, and more recently Denis Malbec. Production remains between 1,800 and 2,500 cases with nearly half of that devoted to their second wine, the Prince of Hearts. The other cuvees include the Proprietary Red (Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated) and the Rive Droite (a Pomerol / St.-Emilion look-a-like wine), and in 2012, they added a tiny, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon cuvee called Mythicus. I could be wrong, but it seems to me these wines, which performed very well, and are among the finest of the so-called “cult” wines of Napa Valley, remain under-the-radar. Perhaps that is due to the small production. The 2009s are all stunning. In the challenging 2011 vintage, the Blankiets along with their winemaker Denis Malbec have fashioned very good examples, although they are much lighter and less concentrated and authoritative than the top vintages. The 2012s are among the finest wines Blankiet has yet made.
-- Rated 90 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate