2009 Tom Eddy Cabernet Sauvignon Elodian Napa Valley
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Tom Eddy Vineyards, Napa Valley No Gambling on Atlas Peak

Some say Tom Eddy simply loves to tinker. Others contend that Eddy is the valley's resident riverboat gambler, a winemaker who can't help but play with fire. But in the superb 2009 growing season in Napa Valley, Eddy did what we've never known him to do. He played his cards close to the vest.

In past years, Eddy's Elodian has been drawn from a mix of mountain and rocky valley floor patches. From 2006-2008, Elodian Cabernets have stressed elegance over power, suppleness perhaps at the expense of muscular structure. But in the glorious summer of 2009, which, save for a couple brief heat spikes, was cool and fog-riddled, Eddy took to three of Napa's greatest mountain vineyards, and in a winemaking role reversal, let Diamond, Howell and Mt. Veeder tell their own vintage story -- making for a massively concentrated, improbably powerful Elodian Cabernet that ranks among our greatest mountain discoveries of 2009.

If you're a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon collector, you know the names. First, there's Bella Vista, set on the nosebleed slopes of Diamond Mountain. In 2009, the Bella Vista Cabernet would reach perfect physiological maturity in the first week of October, providing clusters that Eddy says mimicked the miracle concentration of 2007.

Next, there's Brandlin Ranch, which along with Lokoya and Robin Williams's spread, is fast becoming the most coveted Cabernet patch on Mount Veeder. The 2009 Brandlin Ranch Estate Cabernet Sauvignon -- a bottle eerily similar to Eddy's -- garnered 92+ points from Parker. If you're in the mood, grab a few bottles. But bring your Amex Platinum. They'll set you back $80 a pop.

The third mountain ingredient, of course, is one of Eddy's primary calling cards. Jan Krupp's Stagecoach Vineyard, set high up Atlas Peak, a stone's throw from Pritchard Hill, turns out some of the most powerfully concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon in the valley. "Almost too powerful," Eddy says. "I love the Stagecoach fruit, but in most vintages, I'm careful with it. The tannins can be massive, dominating young Cabernet. But the fruit in 2009 was beautiful. So I stepped on the gas." In the end, one third of the final blend of the 2009 Elodian would be pure Stagecoach!

Why did Eddy -- largely thought of as a champion of elegance over power -- turn out a 2009 Elodian, that while texturally sleek and silken, leans more towards mountain than forward fruit suppleness?

"In a lot of ways, 2009 was similar to 2007," Eddy told us, "but the tannins in '09 were definitely riper and more sumptuous, so I felt confident, that if the weather held, I could tame the mountain. And, well, we lucked out."

All three vineyards ripened by the first week of October. Eddy thought about waiting as others did, but ultimately reconsidered, harvesting every cluster by October 7th, four days before the storm came -- setting the stage for this most uncharacteristic Elodian.

If you bought Eddy's top-rated Elodian Cabernets in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and you found yourself captivated by the soft elegance of those vintages, this bottle may not be for you. But if your predilection is for deeper, darker black fruit intensity, terrific mountain density, and fine, firm backbone that buttresses the 2009 opulence in youth, but argues just as eloquently for 6-8 years in a cool cellar … today's your lucky day.

Tasting Notes

2009 Tom Eddy Cabernet Sauvignon Elodian Napa Valley
"Deep purple/black to the edge, with explosive aromas of blackberry preserves and crème-de-cassis, gently dusted with new wood cedar. Rich and powerful on the attack, with terrific mouth-filling density, warm and velour-like in texture. After 30 months in French cooperage, the tannins have melted, while still bracketing all the 2009 opulence with excellent structural refinement, arguing for 6-8 years in a cool cellar. Superb effort from Eddy."
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