Three Cheers for Carpenter’s Cardinale

Cardinale is a wine that needs no introduction. It prefers to speak for itself, thank you very much. It speaks to critics, it speaks to winemakers, it speaks to oenophiles around the globe… it calls to you from inside its dark and alluring bottle. The winemaker behind the bottle is one of the greatest names in California winemaking: Chris Carpenter.

His name is synonymous with A+ wines. He currently runs the winemaking for the Jackson Family properties of Lokoya, Cardinale, Mt. Brave, and La Jota along with Caladan, a Cab Franc-focused winery.


Cardinale Winery makes only one Cabernet Sauvignon each vintage, with fruit blended from select mountain and benchland vineyards surrounding Napa Valley. A brilliant ensemble of celebrated vineyards, each brings its own personality and flavor contributions to create a singular storyline of their vintage. Since these bottles are incredibly difficult to come by, any chance to procure some is worth a jump. Lucky for you, we’ve got a total of 14 bottles each of the stunning 2012, 2013, and 2014 vintages.


Cardinale 2012 (6 bottles)

Cardinale’s 2012 Proprietary Red was looked after and put-together by winemaker Chris Carpenter from numerous vineyard sites traversing Napa Valley. The 2012’s final blend was 84% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Merlot with 94% new French oak used. Terroirists undoubtedly lament the fact that nine different vineyards and seven different appellations were utilized, but the resulting wine is prodigious. A dense purple color is accompanied by notes of graphite, blackberries, blackcurrants, roasted coffee, vanillin, baking spices and forest floor. With enormous complexity and richness as well as full-bodied power and voluptuousness, it is a wine of exceptional purity, intensity, and well-integrated acidity, alcohol, tannin and wood. This seamless, majestic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated 2012 should drink well for two decades. (RP 98) 


Cardinale 2013 (7 bottles)

A brilliant wine from winemaker Chris Carpenter, this blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Merlot, mostly coming from mountain vineyards owned by the Jackson family, is fabulous. The 2013 Cardinale Proprietary Red Wine is dense purple-colored, a big, sweet kiss of crème de cassis as well as licorice, blackberry and espresso are all present in this full-bodied, rather sublime and intense Cabernet Sauvignon that should drink well for 25 or more years. This was aged in about 91% new French oak for 18-20 months prior to bottling. It is certainly one of the finest Cardinales I have tasted in my experience. (RP 96)


Cardinale 2014 (3 bottles)

A magnificent wine made the by the brilliant winemaker Chris Carpenter… this blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Merlot is sourced from multiple vineyards, from Veeder Peak to Spring Mountain to Howell Mountain. In 2014, it reminded me of a great vintage of Pontet-Canet from Pauillac, but slightly bigger than life. The inky purple color, the stunning nose of cedar wood, unsmoked cigar tobacco, graphite, crème de cassis and subtle new oak is followed by a multi-layered, profoundly concentrated, large-scaled wine with sensational levels of blackcurrant fruit moving toward blackberries. A wine of great intensity, silky tannins and adequate acidity, this is clearly one of the great, great wines of the vintage, and another tour de force in winemaking from Carpenter. It is a 15- to 20- year wine, but the window for drinking it is probably that big as well. (RP 98) 



This wine lot includes:


  • Cardinale 2012 (6 Bottles)


  • Cardinale 2013 (5 Bottles)


  • Cardinale 2014 (3 Bottles)


Donated by Cindee & Michael Gold, Frank Grant, Lynda & Scott Moresco