Black Hills 2021 Nota Bene 750ml
Winemaker Ross Wise has been gradually improving Nota Bene, transforming it from a successful marketing product into a wine that truly deserves its hype and price tag. Despite the challenges of a heat dome and wildfires near Black Hills, the 2021 vintage of Nota Bene is a great example of this. The grapes are all hand harvested, gently destemmed, and fermented using natural yeasts. After fermentation, the wine is aged 18 months in French oak barrels with a light toast. Wise is harvesting the grapes earlier and using less new oak, resulting in a wine with less power but much more finesse. The 2021 blend is made up of 42% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon, 17% cabernet franc, and 1% petit verdot. While it is already highly drinkable, it will continue to improve for a decade or more. The wine has fresh red and black fruits and a silky texture with dense and sweet tannins. Despite a challenging year, Nota Bene is a great effort, and this is a winery with high expectations.
Score: 91 points -- Anthony Gismondi, Gismondi On Wine