2011 Casarena Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Mendoza
Expert Rating
ST 92 points
(Read the full review below)
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Casarena Vineyards & The Wall Stree Journal Shivers Down Napa Valley Spines

The Wall Street Journal feature was entitled "A Critic Who Favors Finesse Over Power." In it, novelist Jay McInerney offered a colorful portrait of wine writer Stephen Tanzer, the New Yorker who many believe to be the world's most discerning wine critic.

Tanzer, the Journal wrote, visits hundreds of cellars each year, not only publishing reviews of 10,000-20,000 wines per year, but providing in-depth explanations as to why each wine tastes as it does. The New Yorker's vintage reports are must reads in the professional community, garnered from dozens of interviews in vineyards and cellars of every significant wine route in the world.

But, there are two other aspects of the International Wine Cellar, McInerney suggests, that so distinguish it from Parker's Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator. First, Tanzer eschews grade inflation, and has NEVER dropped a perfect 100 point score on any New World Cabernet Sauvignon. Second, while the Advocate and Spectator are enamored of ultra-concentration, new wood, and high alcohol bombast, Tanzer is tough on powerful wines that lack finesse and elegance.

Perhaps that's why Tanzer's uncharacteristically glowing review -- and rare 92pt rating -- of the Michel Rolland-inspired 2011 Casarena Cabernet Sauvignon was such a shocker.

Drawn off one of the most storied vineyards in the high ground of Mendoza, an 82-year-old patch set at 3,500 feet in the center cut of Lujan de Cuyo, the 2011 Casarena Reserve is the rare Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon that sends shivers down the spines of the Napa Valley elite.

Opaque purple in color, infused with explosive aromas of ripe cassis, black pepper and sweet mountain herbs, the 2011 Casarena Reserve is rich and powerful on the attack, with superb density and chiseled compactness. Packed with Napa-like crushed black fruit preserves, yet buttressed by the beautifully delineated, supple tannins that so intrigued the toughest critic in the land.

Tanzer called this one "dense, sappy and deep," before suggesting that the greatest wine ever to be produced off this sensational ancient-vine parcel "could challenge Cabernets from Napa Valley at three times the price."

Tasting Notes

2011 Casarena Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Mendoza
"Made from 82-year-old vines, Casarena's reserve cabernet shows restrained but highly complex aromas of blackcurrant, bitter chocolate, mocha, pepper and herbs. In the mouth it's dense, sappy and deep, delivering classic cabernet dark berry, pepper and herb flavors with a sweetness and roundness that could challenge cabernets from Napa Valley at three times the price. This satisfying, complete wine finishes with suave, fine-grained tannins and terrific persistence."
92 points -- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

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