The 2012 Illusionist is everything we dream of when we dream of Cabernet. It is dark, savory, and full bodied, while remaining balanced and elegant. Aged for 20 months in 60% new French oak, this wine is aromatically compelling, filled with aromas of cedar, tobacco, graphite, and a hint of fennel and vanilla. Dark fruit notes of blackberry and cassis explode on entry, and are quickly followed up with dark cherry and savory herbal flavors that linger throughout the extended finish. The tannins are fine-grained and well integrated and provide structure that will reward an extended period in the cellar.
93 points Wine Advocate: “…another straight-up brilliant effort from this team. Crème de cassis, smoked herbs, lead pencil shavings and hints of licorice all give way to a full-bodied, ripe, concentrated and balanced Cabernet that has the purity and texture to drink well in its youth, yet the class and depth to evolve for 15 years.”
93 points Wine Spectator: “Rich, ripe and generous, plush in texture but not heavy-handed, with fresh plum, blackberry and clove flavors that swirl through a polished finish. Shows depth and persistence. Drink now through 2022.”
98 points Trey’s Mom: “Wow! If only he tried this hard in school, imagine the things he could have been! It’s hard to find any flaws in the wine, but if I give him 100 points, he may start to slack off! Plus, I hate his beard, so -1 point for that as well! Other than that, terrific wine, son!”
“I remember the vintage being as great as the press says it was. Not too hot, terrific hang time, picked when we wanted to, no pest or mildew pressures, no frost or freeze pressures. Phinny Hill, one of our favorite Cabernet sites, makes up the bulk of the 2012 Illusionist. The remainder is Red Mountain and Blue Mountain Vineyards, both owned and managed by the Corliss Estates team, as well as Weinbau Cab Franc, and a barrel or two of Scooteney Flats and Blackrock Vineyards. What I love about the wine is it holds onto that true Cabernet character, that leafy quality, a hint of herbaceous character which I have always associated with Cab. Terrific density and weight, purity of fruit, just everything I love about Cab. I think we knocked it out of the park with this one honestly." - Trey Busch