2018 Corison Sunbasket Helios Cabernet FrancUdsolgt
Abundant winter rains in 2017 got the vines off to a great start. August, the greater part of the ripening season, was moderate with cold nights, perfect for color and flavor development. Then heat around Labor Day turned the vintage into a sprint, with the entire harvest picked in nine consecutive days. Thankfully, our grapes were all in weeks before the fires, fermented and resting safely in barrels.
Flowers! The cool ripening season yielded classic Cabernet Franc floral perfume. Varietal pencil-lead and dried herbs complement subtle blueberry and plum fruit. Lifting slate minerality and earthy notes add complexity, and mouthwatering natural acidity and velvety tannins provide the structure for approachability and longevity. The finish goes on and on.
- Cathy Corison
Sunbasket is on St. Helena’s western benchlands, just north of Cathy Corison’s winery. She purchased the vineyard in 2014, most of it planted to cabernet sauvignon, with three short rows of franc that she bottles as Helios. If you enjoy silken elegance in your cabernet, you owe it to yourself to find a bottle of this wine. It offers the kind of sunny generosity that Napa Valley so easily gives; here, that effusive cornucopia of flavor is grounded in earthy detail, focused so it reads as light rather than weight. This wine’s sense of ease with its layers of complexity suggests it will age and develop for a decade or more.
96 - Wine and Spirit Magazine
Wonderful red fruit with strawberry and rose-petal highlights. Turns to black fruit. Medium body. The fruit is pure and succulent in this wine. Citrusy acidity gives it character and energy. Drink or hold.
95 - James Suckling
Aromatic development, palate texture construction, layered flavor complexity, finish staying power and whole package elegance. Words I’ve likely said about other wines from Cathy Corison, and all in evidence here in a stunning Cabernet Franc. The wine opens with soft powder and spice aromas, revealing layers of roses, intense cherry liqueur and gentle pepper on a long, slow draw. Palate entry is silky soft, with aromas transitioning very smoothly into echoing flavors, and the wine gains in intensity as you chew on it, the acidity washing away the silk and pushing the fruit and spice through an extremely long finish. While evaluating this, I find myself having a hard time moving on to the next wine on my desk. Once again, a standing ovation!
97 - Winereviewonline.com