Steve Tanzer 93 points - A big wine from the Barrett family (14.2% alcohol), this 2003 exhibits earthy black currant fruit, the restrained but intense Montelena style, full body, good richness and impeccable balance, purity and density. The color is a healthy dark ruby/purple and the wine shows lots of cassis. In spite of the restrained aromatics, the palate is rich, full-bodied, substantial and persuasive. This 2003 is approachable now, but it will be even more gorgeous 15, 20 and 25 years from now. This is a heritage wine from this great estate in northern Napa Valley.
Firm and dry, this is marked by chewy tannins. The core currant, pencil lead and dusty berry flavors are well-focused and long on the finish. The tannic strength and dryness are my major concerns. Decant. The best of two bottles tasted. Drink now through 2013. 12,000 cases made. –JL
Good full ruby. Very pure flavors of cassis, blackberry and licorice. Dense, rich and pure, with quintessential cabernet flavors of cassis and licorice. Like a finer-grained, fleshier version of the classic but tightly wound 2001. As rich as it is, this also boasts terrific inner-palate energy. Carries a distinctly moderate 13.8% alcohol. Finishes with big but ripe tannins and superb length. This should age for 15 to 20 years.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar