Blankiet's Merlot-based red is deep, opulent and expressive. Black cherry, plum, mocha, spice and leather all meld together in a sumptuous, sensual red that captures the personality of the year in spades.
Blankiet Estate is an estate in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains near Yountville, in Napa Valley. Founded in 1996 by Claude Blankiet, a businessman and a native of Dijon, France, and his wife Katherine, the estate was founded to make Bordeaux-style blends. Blankiet’s first winemakers were Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer. Seven years later Martha McClellan came winemaker, with consultation from Michel Rolland. Today the winemaker is Denis Malbec, formerly cellar master at Chateau Latour. Blankiet makes two flagship wines: Blankiet Estate, predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, and Rive Droite, a Saint-Emilion style Merlot-based blend. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that Blankiet’s wines are “world class, combining the extraordinary power of the site with unbelievable elegance and definition.”
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,