SubRegion: Napa Valley
Appellation: Napa Valley
Price: $39.99 (sale) in Carmel, Indiana
Be careful not to put your nose too deeply into the glass. This wine forms a fist and punches straight up right at your schnoz. The bottle says "Alcohol 14.9% by volume." Don't believe it. Under US label laws that means the alcohol can be as high as 15.9%, and if I had a gas chromatograph in the junk drawer I would be willing to bet it will ring the 16+ bell. Lots of other big aromas are packed in that fist, including blackberries, very ripe and deeply bruised black cherries, black pepper, freshly ground nutmeg, dark chocolate and cocoa. This is one of those noses you can get caught up in, forgetting to drink the wine for quite a long time.
The palate is equally overpowering. The attack opens with huge bruised dark fruit and black pepper. A whole smorgasbord of flavors flash across the mid-palate, starting with plum skins and nutmeg, then adding dark chocolate, coffee, and a tiny grating of dried orange peel. The tannins are surprisingly gritty, but sweet, adding a cheek-drying leather to the finish, which is quite long.
Night Two should be interesting.
I do not have detailed notes from Night Two. A friend came over and we just drank the rest of the bottle together. My general impressions were of a great big sweet woody wine, an Aussie Shiraz doppelganger. Tannins smoothed out significantly, the finish was quite long. At $40, it was okay for the price, but I was back in the same store a few days later and did not feel compelled to pick up any more of it. At the retail $69, I would not even consider buying a bottle.
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