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Kellie Duckhorn
February 11, 2016 | Kellie Duckhorn

When 80 points feels like 100 points!

Scoring Matters, sometimes...

I like to exercise...mostly for sanity, often to offset a great weekend meal, and generally because it makes me feel good. I run and swim regularly, XC ski whenever I can and am coerced into a bike ride perhaps once a month. I prefer the tandem cycling because my husband, Andy, is the captain and all I have to do is pedal and enjoy the country side pass by!

The other morning, I was out running in Las Posadas, and it occurred to me that every run, every day of exercise, could be scored. Some days, the score is a solid 100 points. Those are the days when every stride, every breath, every stroke, every down pedal feels fluid, easy, perfect,'s hard to pinpoint why, you just feel it and know that it is a 100 point day!

100 Point Days

What I also appreciate is that it isn't always about a 100 point day...sometimes, it's more about the experience, the fact that I am outside, enjoying life, nature and taking a deep breath, feeling rather than just going through the motions. These are the days that often mean even more to me, make me feel alive and couragous, willing to push my body out of bed and into a space of initial discomfort, but in the end, to a place of accomplishment and exhilaration.

So, back to the other day...running in Las Posadas and taking stock of all that was around me...noticing the newts and the sunlight, the smell of wet earth and the sight of new wildflowers...and I thought of wine and how it is scored, and somehow trapped into a single definition that can be static and confining.

Wine is like exercise...the score is both fixed and fluid. Take an 88 point wine and pour it with your best friends, a fantastic home cooked meal, a sunset...suddenly, it is 100 points! I like benchmarks, I like goals, I like exceeding expectations. But I also like to think that wine, like exercise, is about the daily engagement. Be in the moment, create an opportunity, stop and enjoy the experience, and suddenly, it's not so much about the score, but instead, it's about the fact that you are just doing it!

Margaret Duckhorn, sharing a bottle of wine at my wedding!

Baldacci Wines with Scores

2012 Stags Leap Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Black Label

90-92 points - Antonio Galloni

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label is quite pretty in this vintage. Floral and quite lifted for a Stags Leap Cabernet, the 2012 emerges from the glass with sweet raspberries, rose petals, mint and a subtle hint of spices. The style is decidedly feminine and nuanced throughout.

94 points - Wine Enthusiast, Cellar Selection

Spicy and leathery, this lovely wine unfolds with waves of red and blue fruit, from cassis to huckleberry and blueberry pie. Balanced and elegant, it has a substantive, complex finish, revisiting its black pepper introduction around a finely tuned finale of herb. Enjoyable now, it will take on deeper complexity through 2022.

2007 Stags Leap Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Brenda's Vineyard - 50 bottles special offer, February 2016

92 points - Robert Parker

The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Brenda’s Vineyard reveals more cedar, licorice and blacker fruits in its complex aromatics, and cuts a fuller, richer, more textured mouthfeel. Impressive purity, abundant red and black fruits, licorice and subtle background oak make for an impressive wine to drink over the next 12-15 years.

93 points - Wine Enthusiast, Cellar Selection

Shows its youth in the assaultive tannins that hit the palate with astringent toughness. But underneath are rich, pure and vibrant blackberry, cherry and cassis flavors. A very fine wine, as this bottling tends to be, but one in serious need of cellaring. It’s already throwing some sediment, suggesting it’s impatient to evolve.

2013 Stags Leap Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Brenda's Vineyard - club only, SIGN UP NOW - release date Oct 2016

97+ points - Robert Parker

The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Brenda’s Vineyard certainly looks like black pen ink with a purple hue. One of the most impressively colored wines in what is a dense purple vintage, this 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is explosively rich. It hits the palate with full-bodied power and authority, with no hard edges, extraordinary purity, ripeness, concentration and extract. Nothing is out of place, and the wine utterly compelling and potentially a 30+-year offering from Baldacci. This is possibly the finest wine I’ve ever tasted from them and at this price, a realistic value. Drink it from five years to 30+ years.




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