The 2010 vintage was very good overall, especially for late-ripening varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. A rare varietal label in the Monticello AVA, Keswick Vineyards has consistently made some of the best varietal Cab. Sauvs in Virginia.

When you have an estate reserve Cabernet from a very good vintage, it pays to cellar it well for at least a decade, to let the tannins soften and integrate with the oak and the fruit.

This wine was at the peak of development. The nose was rich and complex, with fruit-driven ripe cassis upfront but with plenty of toasty oak supporting it, and dried tobacco and tea hints.

On the palate, the wine was richly fruity, with juicy cassis, balanced with judicious but not too much oak (22 months in both French and American) which gave complexity and dimension. The palate was long, with ripe and smooth tannins. I admired the balance and pure varietal character of the wine, at its peak but which could continue to develop for five or more years if well-cellared.

This Keswick estate reserve Cabernet Sauvignon would, in a blind tasting, compare favorably with Cabernets of the same age from the Medoc as well as from Napa and other New World locations. This also shows the rewards that wait for those with the patience to lay down fine Virginia reds from fine vintages and reap the rewards; even after 11 years, this wine still shines.