Vinous 92 - A more savory expression of Merlot emerges from the 2013 Illustration. Hudson and Stagecoach are the primary sources, which explains the wine's distinct ferrous personality. Smoke, leather, licorice and grilled herbs are some of the overtones that develop as this dark, large-scaled Merlot-based red shows off its explosive personality and breadth.
Wine Advocate 91 - The 2013 Illustration Proprietary Red, 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, is a beauty. Dense ruby/purple, the wine offers up mocha, coffee bean, white chocolate, black cherry and blackcurrant fruit in a full-bodied, opulent, lusty style. Some light tannin in the finish gives the wine some grip, but this is a wine to drink now and over the next 10-12 years.
Wine Enthusiast 91 - This is the producer's proprietary Merlot-driven blend, the variety comprising 60% of the whole, with 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Like its other blends, it spent 21 months in French oak, 75% of it new. Sanguine in currant and plum, its thick structure holds richer notes of chocolate and coconut. Drink now through 2023.
James Suckling 91 - Lot of walnut, dried flowers and dark fruits on the nose. Full body. Silky tannins, bright acidity and a clean finish. Smoky undertone.
Illustration is the most decadent of the Blackbird wines, scented with dark fruits, chocolate, flowers, and licorice. The palate is dense with abundant flavors of plum, blackberry, sarsaparilla, and eucalyptus. The rich texture envelops the lithe tannins for a luscious mouthfeel and rich finish. Drinking well upon release, Illustration will age beautifully with time in the cellar. Blend: 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon