Amicus is the flagship wine of X Winery, founded by Reed Renaudin in 2001. He is winemaker and CEO. The winery concentrates on cabernet sauvignon from the Napa Valley’s hillside districts and sauvignon blanc from Lake County. Renaudin also makes limited quantities of chardonnay, zinfandel, pinot noir and petite syrah and the Red X blend, the cheapest wine at about $14, and a perennial favorite on BTYH. Except for Amicus, prices for the X wines are under $25.
The Amicus Special Blend 2005, Spring Mountain District, is a powerhouse of a red wine, huge, vibrant and dynamic. The blend is 51 percent cabernet sauvignon, 28 percent merlot, 11 percent petit verdot and 10 percent cabernet franc. The wine ages 30 months(!) in French oak, 50 percent new barrels. Spice, leathery tannins and minerals assail the nose and fill the mouth; the wine offers incredible density and concentration, embodied in a core of very intense bitter chocolate, macerated black currants, lavender and granite. Chewy, grainy tannins bring in a tide of underbrush, forest floor and walnut shell to tie up the finish in a knot of austerity. Best to ponder this wine, or let it ponder itself, until 2010 or ’11 for drinking through 2015 or ’17. On the other hand, we drank this with a rib-eye steak, and they sang in primal harmony. Production was 400 cases. Excellent potential. About $40.
Huge in every dimension, the Amicus Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Spring Mountain District, is all about structure, though, interestingly, it allows more glimmers of fruit than its cousin Red Blend ’05. Black plum, blueberry and black currant flavors are permeated with cedar, smoke and tobacco leaf and the elements that attend on the presence of formidable tannins: leather, underbrush, briers and brambles. In its own way, however, the wine is vivid and vital, creating an impression of succulence married to severity. The wine is 100 precent cabernet; it ages 30 months in French oak, 50 percent new barrels. Production was 224 cases. Enormous potential, from about 2011 or ’12 through 2016 or ’18. Excellent. About $55.