Why no love for Blankiet?

Poking around in CT to find some wine to drink tonight, I came upon 3 bottles of 2009 Blankiet Prince of Hearts that I picked up in 2011 at the Taste of Yountville event on Derby Day. I tasted it that day and enjoyed it enough to pick up three bottles, plus a bottle of their 2009 Paradise Hills. Other than the mention of Graeme MacDonald becoming the winemaker, there’s not a lot of mention of it, with “Blankiet” showing up in the title of Winetalk threads about 5 times a year, often in the company of multiple other wines opened together. I seem to recall that 10-15 years ago, Blankiet was a cult darling and getting high scores from that critic who shall not be mentioned. Has it fallen off the map? Is it just that no one here talks about it and my forays into wine discussion are limited ever since I got booted from that place that we don’t mention? Inquiring minds want to know.

I will report back on the 2009 Prince of Hearts tomorrow.

I know that there was quite a bit of buzz surrounding the 2013 Prince of Hearts being released a few months back. Based on that and 15% off at Total Wine, I bought a few bottles. Not tried one yet.

With Graeme being named winemaker, I think we will see more chatter.

I agree with you, Jay. It’s a bit puzzling to me, too.

I’m a huge fan of Blankiet wines, but only after Denis Malbec took over the winemaking. All of the pre-2010 vintages are in different styles by Parker-Darling winemakers. I find these wines to be too overdone and heavy. Denis brought in a new wave of fresh and vibrant wines focused on the terroir of the property. These wines have a form and balance that are meant for aging but are so beautiful with appropriate aeration. My impression of the WB forum as leaning to more of an AFWE-crowd leads me to believe more here would like these Malbec vintages of Blankiet. Perhaps the haven’t tried any of the recent vintages because they have been “burned” by previous experiences with older vintages from Martha McClellan and others.

I also see most of the Napa-based posts here revolve around wines made by Mike Smith and TRB, amongst others. In my experience, folks he really enjoy those types of Napa Cabs do not like the Blankiet wines much at all. But, my friends who enjoy Bordeaux more than Napa always enjoy the Blankiet wines. That may affect the number of posts here regarding Blankiet.

This is a really good wine. There has been a pretty big shift at Blankiet based on the tour I took there a couple of years ago and I really like their new style. They admitted they had gone overboard on ripeness with prior winemakers, but with Graeme they are leaning more towards finesse and elegance. I have a few of their flagship wines from '13 and they are expensive. The Prince of Hearts are more affordable and the three of four vintages I have had are very good.

Also, it’s hard to keep up with all the Napa Cabs that are supposed to be great. Every month another one comes out. Some of the old time wines are as good as ever, but either lack a high enough price to generate interest, or lack the current favored wine makers.

I’ve bought a few 2011 and 2012 directly from the winery. Extremely good wines and not at all over done.
However, in the end I should have bought them at retail. Also they use GSO for shipping, a big no for me.

As I recall, many of their customers were turned off some years back because they were forced to buy merlot to get the cabernet.

The two times I had the wines I found them pretty underwhelming. Once, ten years or so ago, someone served a relatively recent release of the Paradise Hills blindly to a group of us wine lovers. It was very pleasant but two of us guessed a ~$20 Languedoc. It didn’t seem to have any cabernet character.

I had the 2002 Paradise Hills in November. My notes: “Very dark. Lovely classic cab aroma. Good grip, a bit disjointed. Some heat. Tannic at the back. 85 points.”

These seemed to lack the oomph to get big Parker scores, but weren’t really old-school either. I thought they were kind of bland.

There are a lot of Napa cab producers, it doesn’t surprise me they don’t get discussed much here. There are too many! And it seems like there is a lot more discussion of French high end wine here, vs. more QPR California wines.

I’ve only had a few bottles, but have enjoyed them all. Definitely on the riper side (especially pre-2010 as some have noted). After going to a great tasting 4 years ago (!) I joined their list. I have yet to get an offer.

This leads me to believe that they are really small production, with a dedicated core of list members. Maybe not too shocking that they don’t overlap much here, just by the small numbers?

The truth is that it’s difficult for wineries to ‘break through the clutter’ moreso now than ever before, and it has always been tough. And on a board like this, with hundreds of different wines discussed, it does seem that folks strive to find the ‘new and different’ oftentimes when it comes to places like Napa rather than those that have been at it for awhile.

I’m sure that the wines are ‘good’ and with the change of winemaker and the change in winemaking style, either due to market conditions or otherwise, I’m sure they will get more ‘notice’ than in the past. And just with this post, Jay, you are giving them a lot of notice :slight_smile:

Congrats, counselor . . .

I would call them, you’d be surprised what a polite phone call can do.

I was exposed to an early 2000’s Blankiet Merlot a couple of years ago and I thought it was memorable. I’m on their allocation list and have purchased 2011 to the current vintage. I recently purchased '15 Paradise Hills and Mythicus. I sense these wines need some time in the bottle, so I plan on letting them sleep for a bit.

Their Merlot is probably my fav domestic producer in the US. Love their wines and I never had one until last August when this board recommended them for a stop on our trip. Good juice and great tour, very intimate and fun

Big, big fan here, and perennial buyer. I agree the wines really turned the corner when Denis Malbec took the winemaking reins with the 2010 vintage I believe. We tasted the 2010 Prop Red last summer during our visit and it’s evolving into a special wine. Very balanced and gaining complexity, not a Napa full throttle cab by any means. Like Joe said, the Rive Droite merlot will make you a believer in CA merlot. Wines aren’t cheap, no doubt. But in context of peers in the region, I think they deliver value.

Claude is very hands on and as committed to vineyard management as anyone. Graeme will be a great advancer of the vision Claude and Denis adapted. Of note, Claude said Graeme’s experience with the alluvial soils of the Mayacamas range was a big part in his decision to partner with him.

2012 Mythicus and Paradise Hills are stunner’s. Love the Prince of Hearts one of my go to wines at home! Will be heading that way some time in the next month.

Would jay even like blankiet now?!? I thought it’s now awfe

Graeme MacDonald is te winemaker. It can’t be bad. I did not end up opening the 2009 tonight. The Myriad Cab and the Rhys Chard were enough. I have it teed up for this weekend.

Well Jay I only partially agree with your assessment of no love for these guys. You stated that the critic who must not be named loved them 10-15 years ago which is correct, yet he still loved them up until his departure. The 10,12,13 and 14 got phenomenal scores. The current crop of the 15s got great scores from Lisa amazing scores from Antonio and extremely good scores from Jed. There is approximately a 4 year wait for their wines. I did bring them up and posted a thread about their offering a few weeks ago. When I just searched they showed up over 600 times on this board often in conjunction with best Merlot or winery visits. They also showed up plenty in threads about mailing lists. They did not have too many stand alone threads however, and there were only 3 responses to me posting on the flip side.

I think the real question is why are they not a board darling, which I am hoping will change as they obviously are making great wine with a fabulously talented winemaker and very nice owners. When it comes to wine {especially California} the members here me included are like sheep. Somehow various members seem to decide what the “it” wines are and we all follow. Yet at the same time there are often numerous equal quality competitors that barely get mentioned. I always have found this mysterious and if I knew the answer why, I would probably have bought a winery and become rich.

I just got added to list this year for their flagship trio. I did buy some and am looking forward to it. From my understanding the 2015s were completed by Graeme in the aging process where he decided to give them a little less time in barrel to reduce oakiness and give a bit more reductive flavor. The 2016s will be Graeme’s first vintage from start to finish. I think it will be likely a stunning wine. It is quite possible that some of the luster from MacDonald’s halo rubs off onto Blankiet as people start to discover that they can get Graeme’s other project a bit more easily than waiting behind 3000 others for the MacDonald. I certainly hope so.

No affiliation btw just a fan…

  1. Yeah, that’s what I meant. I should have asked “Why no love for Blankiet here?”

  2. But they don’t have the vineyard that MacDonald has. Look at the beautiful vines. My Facebook big photo - I don’t know what they call it - is a picture of one of their 60+year old vines.

In for a three pack of their 2016 Prince of Hearts. Looking forward to them releasing the Mythicus and Paradise Hills early next year.

Me too, great QPR relatively speaking in Napa terms :slight_smile: