Tony Arcudi continues to impress with his Cabernet Sauvignons from Black Sears. The wines are ripe, powerful and intense, but also impeccably balanced. For now, Arcudi makes one Cabernet, but the lineup will expand with the 2016 vintage as fruit sources from Oakville and Pritchard Hill come online. Earlier this year, Arcudi took over consulting duties at Kapcsándy following the passing of Denis Malbec. Arcudi’s first wines under his own label suggest he has a very bright future.

The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Sears Vineyard is compelling. Even with all of the ups and down of the year, the 2015 has retained striking freshness and nuance, with plenty of underlying structure. The decision to pick a bit earlier than in the past gives he wine a good bit of freshness, even in a hot year like 2015. A host of dark cherry, plum, bittersweet chocolate, espresso, lavender and menthol build into the deep finish. Deceptively medium in body, the 2015 packs plenty of Howell Mountain punch. It also holds tons of promise. (91-94)

The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Sears Vineyard is a big wine that appears to need time to come together. That is not unusual, as so many 2014s have closed down after bottling, which appears to be the case here. Today, the 2014 comes across as riper and richer than it did last year. There is certainly no lack of Howell Mountain thrust. Readers should plan on cellaring the 2014 for at least a few years.92+

Arcudi’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Sears Vineyard has really come along nicely. Over the last few years the wine has acquired greater finesse and silkiness while retaining all of the signatures that make this well-known Howell Mountain site so unique. It will be a few years before the aromatics are fully expressive. Today, what comes through is the pure primary intensity of the fruit as expressed in this historic vintage. With time in the glass, attractive scents of rose petal, lavender, sage and menthol gradually make an appearance. 94