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As we’ve mentioned before, Golden Rule Vineyards is a bit of an outlier in the Willcox region, geologically, thus imparting a particularly unique terroir in wines produced from grapes grown there.  The 2013 Black Diamond is no exception to this rule.

2013 Black Diamond

Here we see the Black Diamond overlooking the Verde Valley.

The Wine: Like most of the wines from Golden Rule, the 2013 Black Diamond is named for a mine in the area.  The Black Diamond Mine was a silver and copper mine that opened in 1880, forming a small boom town of about 100 people.  The post office associated with the town closed in 1908.  This wine can be classified as a varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, as it consists of 80% that grape.  It is also made from 10% Petit Sirah, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot, all sourced from GRV.  This is a big, California-style Cabernet, sitting at 14.9% alcohol with a decent amount of aging in new oak. The wine is a very deep, dark purple color, thanks to the use of Petit Sirah and Petit Verdot. I believe this vintage was made a the Aridus facility, but I am unsure of who was the winemaker at that time.

The Nose: When first opened, the 2013 Black Diamond has a tight, dense nose with notes of cassis, blackberry, black currant, and mulberry, with notes of black pepper and vanilla.  As the wine opens during and after decanting, additional notes of cedar, cavendish tobacco, granite dust, and iris emerge.

The Palate: This is a full-bodied red wine.  When first opened, this wine is pretty tightly-wound, with a short 20-second finish.  At that time, expect few notes other than cherry, blackberry, and cassis, along with intense vanilla and big, leathery tannins.  After decanting for about three hours, however, the wine tells a different story.  The wine finally opens, with notes of currants, violets, molasses, black pepper, granite, and tobacco emerging on the palate. There are still plenty of leathery tannins, of course. The finish after a three-hour decant lasts for 1 minute and 9 seconds, and is filled with notes of sage, rosemary, cassis, and granite.

The Pairing: It’s hard to argue with the traditional Cabernet Sauvignon pairing of ribeye with this wine, but it will also pair well with cigars.  In fact, a proper cigar will cut through the tannin notes if you’re imbibing this wine straight out of the bottle instead of decanting.  For a vegetarian or vegan pairing, serve this wine with a vegan mushroom lasagna.

Impressions:  This is a very tannic, young red that will need longer to cellar than many other Cabernet Sauvignon vintages in the state.  The main reason for this is the use of the screwtop enclosure, which limits introduction of oxygen to the wine.  Cellar for longer than you otherwise would, or decant the 2013 Black Diamond for several hours.

If you’re a lover of big, bold Napa or Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon wines, I would definitely recommend the 2013 Black Diamond over other Cabernet Sauvignon vintages in Arizona.  If you are more a fan of more subtle vintages coming from Bordeaux, or Washington, however, this wine may not be your thing.

I feel like this wine, if personified, is a professional blackjack player, always dressed up for some black tie gala.