98 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, the 2018 Cardinale was aged in French oak barrels for 22 months, 81% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it prances out of the glass with gregarious notions of warm cassis, black cherries and wild blueberries, followed by emerging earth scents with a tobacco and garrigue undercurrent. Medium to full-bodied, gracefully styled and refreshing, the vibrant black and blue-fruited palate offers a wonderfully fine-grained texture and bags of energy, finishing long with a skip in its step. 5,107 cases were made.
97 Points James Suckling - Aromas of blackberries, plums and spice with some pine needles and fresh mushrooms. Full-bodied with very fine, round tannins and a juicy sophistication and flavorful profile. Dark and thought-provoking. So approachable. 90% cabernet sauvignon and 10% merlot. Drink or hold.
97 Vinous - The 2018 Cardinale Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and sumptuous right out of the gate. Soaring aromatics and silky tannins add finesse to the dark mountain fruit. It's hard to remember a vintage with this much sheer appeal in the early going. As always, Cardinale is a blend of choice hillside blocks. In 2018, the core is built around Stags Leap, Atlas Peak and St. Helena. Winemaker Chris Carpenter has backed off some of the overtness of the past years, and that is a huge benefit in allowing the wine to be more natural, more relaxed. The 2018 spent 21 months in 80-90% new oak, and clearly has the stuffing to handle the oak. It is one of the most refined Cardinales I can remember tasting.
95 Points Decanter - The perennial centerpiece wine from Jackson Family Wines and winemakers Chris Carpenter. Composed around mountain fruit with supporting roles from valley floor vineyards across the valley. Hedonistic and commanding on the nose, with dense aromas of ripe black currants, black cherries, coffee beans and fresh herbs. The palate is svelte, balanced and expansive. The finish is grainy but fine, retaining a core of bright, refreshing acidity. Very much in the style of a modern cult Napa Cabernet but manages to do so with restraint.
94 Points Wine Spectator - Ripe and dense, but sleek and polished, with red and black licorice notes framing the core of lush plum sauce, blackberry compote and boysenberry reduction flavors. A licorice edge struts on the finish too. A showy style that should have lots of fans. Drink now through 2036. 5,000 cases made.