The 2018 Black Magic takes all the best attributes of the other 2018 Cabernets and combines them into one of the richest/thickest wines we have bottled for Tor in the 20 years I have been winemaker. To drink this wine is more akin to drinking a wine with another wine jammed into the same space so that it tastes richer than it possibly can be. This is dominated by black fruits and Turkish coffee/dark chocolate. If you have been lucky enough to have had the Black Magics of the past the best comparison I can make is like taking the best attributes of the 2013 and the 2016 and making that into a wine.
2018 was a very long and overall cool vintage which aided its longevity and hang time. The grape set was under ideal conditions in the Spring, and the clusters on average were larger than normal, full, and picture perfect. Hollywood clusters, show offs; a beautiful and large set. We thinned (dropped fruit) more radically than we did in 2017 and 2016, one cluster per shoot in To Kalon. Still, by harvest it was on average a good 10 to 15% more than we had initially anticipated. Long, long hang time, picture perfect clusters, no real heat spikes, and an even and long picking season.
Our greatest pleasure is to walk though the cellars and taste barrel by barrel. It’s rare, but sometimes one barrel will stop us in our tracks. In all the barrel lots made from our legendary sites, seldom more than three or four accomplish this in any given year. These distinct barrels, of course, all hail from Napa Valley’s greatest vineyards. There is no rhyme or reason why these singular barrels come together to defy the laws of nature. It’s a phenomenon that can’t be fully explained. True magic.