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Di Costanzo Cabernet Sauvignon Farella 2016 - "Don't miss it"
19 March 2021

If you, like us, prefer your Napas with a little snap and tension to them, wines like Californian bottles from the '70s, '80s, and early '90s, then Massimo Di Costanzo's eponymous output will appeal. It was while at Screaming Eagle (where he worked as winemaker during the '06 and '07 vintages) that Massimo realised that a more restrained, taut, structured style of Napa Cabernet was not only valid, but highly desirable. The fruit for this cuvee comes the Farella Vineyard, one of the finest sites in Napa's cool Coombsville appellation; a long-time favourite source of energetic and mineral soaked Cabernet for some of the valley's top bottlings. Massimo's vinification is low tech, old fashioned, and predicated by using only the best, small berry fruit in his selections. Italian heritage explains the unashamed presence of structure in his wines - tannins of strength and finesse that serve to remind us that these wines are designed to shine with food.

2016 is many people's favourite Napa vintage in the past decade. The wines have purity and freshness allied to density and complexity. They are very complete. Massimo's Farella, described by Antonio Galloni as a "vivid, super-expressive Cabernet", is just starting to enter its drinking window. Given two hours in a decanter it continues to grow and amplify, suggesting plenty of life ahead. Fabulous, complex, mineral aromas sweep from the glass, sheets of iron rich volcanic minerality slowly peel apart to reveal cool pure blueberry and cassis fruit, then cherry pipe tobacco and savoury forest notes. Full of torque and tension on the palate, the structure is defined by wonderfully fine, ripe and downright delicious tannins. This is a wine that blends old with new in wonderful ways.

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