Napa Valley, California
From the bottle notes:
Raymond Napa Valley Reserve wines reflect a family dedication to excelllence and five generations of Napa Valley winemaking. Viticulture and winemaking experience, along with premium fruit from vineyards selected for climate and soil type, are combined to produce consistently superb wines.
Did you notice upon what the little wooden guy was standing? Yeah, this is pretty obviously cabernet, with the classic blackcurrant signature.
The nose opens with blackcurrant jelly, a lot of blackcurrant jelly, plus a bit of plum. After a few minutes some cigar box and a hint of mint come through the fruit.
The initial attack was black fruit and sour unripe plums. Alcohol was a little hot, the wine a little thinner than expected, medium rather than full bodied. The tannins were puckeringly dry. Finish was medium length.
Based on the sharpness and the super-dry tannins, I expect big changes from day one to day two.
What a difference a day makes.
The nose was still blackcurrant jelly, but now the sharpness and heat were down and some vanilla made an appearance. Secondary smells followed, cedar and lavendar, and even here for a sceond and gone again roses. Nobody would smell this and think anything other than "Napa Cab."
The firs tastes in this were, you guessed it, blackcurrant jelly, but instead of being joined by unripe plums like on night one, black cherries were the dance partner. Vanilla didn't actually cut in, just danced gently in the background, and vanilla and rose waltzed onto the floor for the second verse of the song. Tannins were soft and smooth. Wine was dry, but not puckering. Instead they just made a firm backbone, offering promise of cellar growth. Throughout night two the wine softened, getting a better more full-bodied mouth feel.
This was a good, not great but good, classic Napa Cab, all blackcurrants and vanilla. Raymond Vineyards avoided the temptation to over-oak this under-$30 wine, something I truly appreciate. Based upon the two day tasting, I think it will improve for a few years. Nobody will ever mistake it for a First Growth Bordeaux, but they will also not guess it came from the middle shelf at the grocery store. If you ever hold a wine tasting for your wine-neophyte friends, a "let me show you what a typical cabernet should be" sort of event, thiswould be a great candidate.