Eddie and I tasted the 2011 “Don” Cabernet Sauvignon Tribute Wine with Mitch Cosentino, founder and winemaker at Pure Cru Napa Valley, in 2015. We liked it so much then we bought a few bottles, found them in our cellar recently and decided that we needed to crack one open. Below are notes from the back label, my tasting notes from 2015 and 2021, the technical notes, and a new quote from Mitch.
What is the tribute for?
In April 2014 we lost a family member, friend and partner, Don Held, aka Superman. This wine, like Don who had so many special qualities, has been developed as a tribute to his life. He lived life to the fullest and enriched the lives of those lucky enough to be around him. Two of the rarest clones of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes have been blended to produce this extremely rare, one of a kind wine.
For those that knew Don, we hope when you drink this wine it will bring back so many beautiful, lasting memories. For those of you who did not have the pleasure of knowing him, our hope is “Don” will inspire you to makes some special memories of your own.
We never met Don, but we do raise a glass – from his remarkable wine – to him now.
2015 Tasting Notes
2011 The Don: (25% of the sales of this wine go to Make-A-Wish foundation and is named after a former partner in the winery that has since passed away.) 100% Cabernet from “two of the rarest clones” that shall not be named…I got aromas of dust, what Mitch referred to as “lead pencil”, blackberry and hard candy; very rich dark fruit, velvety, intense black cherry that would be hard for any taster to miss, doesn’t need food or aging. 96 Eve pts.
2021 Tasting Notes
Opaque, dark purple in color. Aromas included dried blackberry, fresh blueberry pie and chocolate mousse desserts, pecan, campfire, black pepper, toasted wood/sweet bark, spicy. Velvety layers of dark spicy fruit flavors that goes on and on. Found the same blackberry and blueberry notes as on the nose, balanced with spice notes, coffee grounds, tannins doing their job. Doesn’t need food, which seems remarkable as it’s a big wine. 97 Eve pts.
I texted Mitch after we tasted Don and he added this news, “…we just bottled the same blend from 2017 in honor of another partner who passed, Dr. Prab. That is the last we can do because one of the clones (the Lafitte) was torn out by the current owner of the property unfortunately. It will be offered to club members this summer. I have hidden the Don’s that I have to keep me from drinking them.”
Napa Valley (100%), 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Winemaking: Each lot was punched cap fermented and barrel aged for 36 months in selected French Oak barrels then blended before bottling.
Tasting Notes: Currants with a hint of spice and a gravel like mineral element in the nose. On the palate it is intense and dense with black fruit. Very varietal and well structured, accented by spice throughout add to that long, complex and complex finish.
Special Notes: This is a very special tribute wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon components are very unique. The two clones used are the rarest in the Napa Valley. One is the Secret Clone from its original vineyard on a hill in Pope Valley and from a small block in Yountville. The other is the “L” Clone which supposedly traces its origin to the famous Chateau Lafite Rothschild property. This is the first use from new plantings in Pope Valley where it exhibits a distinctive Pauillac minerality and dense black fruit as it does in Bordeaux.
(Production limited to 80 cases.)
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.