Sunday, January 25, 2009

2003 St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon

Type: Red
Producer: St. Francis
Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon
Country: USA
Region: California
SubRegion: Sonoma County
Appellation: Sonoma County
Price: $18.98 in Indianapolis

The Little Wooden Guy is not impressed.

Night One

The nose is very jammy with mulberry and black cherry, plus vanilla and cedar from the obvious use of new oak.

The palate is sharper than the nose, more acidic, leading with blackberries, tart plum skins, and nettles. The tartness disappears quickly, turning to dark fruit, mulberry and black cherry. Chocolate makes surprise appearance on the mid-palate. Cigar box, vanilla and plum skins make the finish. It is thick with glycerin, tannins are very fine and soft, adding a feeling of suede drying the cheeks.

A few hours later and this has changed completely. The attack is milder and has far more minerality. The finish is completely different, leaving the exact same lingering taste as fresh coconut milk. You know the kind, where the guy with the machete chops off the top and hands you a straw? Yeah, that.

Night Two

The nose is far more classically Cabernet Sauvignon on Night Two. Blackcurrant is the lead aroma, with a background of some crushed-stone minerality. it is far more subdued than on Night One.

On the palate, oily glycerin makes for a very soft mouth feel. The fruit is also very soft, and very black- blackcurrant, mulberry, and then some more mulberry. The mid-palate gets sweet, devolving into the brown sugar and maple so typical of Cali Cabs of late. If you don't know the taste, or want to explore it, go buy yourself a box of Life Cereal, Brown Sugar and Maple Flavor, and you will have it, on the nose.


An under-$20 Cali Cab is a real crap-shoot. This one was good enough on Night One to be a "buy" for the dollar, but drink it all up on Night One, and don't buy cases of it to cellar. This is a drink now, or at least a drink soon, wine.

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