Powerful aromatic nose of black fruit, spice and vanilla. Fruit forward palate of blackberry, red plum and black currant. High acidity with medium tannins. Tasted this last year. Still the same big fruit, but the tannins are beginning to soften and it is developing some texture. Needed a little time for the alcohol to blow off. The complexity is improving with the addition of more bitter chocolate in the mid-palate and a short finish with some graphite coming through. The tannins are starting to moderate and I like a red wine with some backbone, so I am going to say this wine is in its optimum drinking window. Drink now and the next couple of years, at most. At $18/btl, this wine has my vote for the best value cab sauv in California. I would expect a wine of this caliber to be in the $30-35 range in Sonoma County. I prefer not to put a number to wines if I can, but in this case I will put that aside and give it an 89. It needs more minerality, the mid-palate and finish could be stronger and the texture wasn’t there to be rated higher, but for that kind of price… this is impressive!
Robert Oatley Vineyards
Australia, Western Australia
Wine Tasting Note:
Nose of alcohol, red raspberry and spice. High acidity and medium tannins. For a low alcohol cabernet, the alcohol is obvious. The palate is full of fresh red raspberry and strawberry up front with a subtle mid-palate that introduces faint elements of eucalyptus and vanilla. The wine has a short finish of bitter, sour cherry. I found the complexity of flavors interesting, but the texture was watery and the elements didn’t come together well. This seems like a low-priced attempt at an old-world style wine, from a new-world producer. For a $10/btl cab sauv pretty decent, but I would rather spend an extra few bucks and purchase something a bit more enjoyable for a daily drinker.
Frank Family Vineyards
California, Napa Valley
Wine Tasting Note:
Right out of the bottle, this wine was horribly disjointed. After a couple of hours, it started to come together. Maybe just a dead phase for the wine?. The nose is full of alcohol, vanilla and red plum. The texture is a bit thin. High acidity and medium high tannins. The palate is strange for a Napa cabernet. My first impression is of strawberry jam, but then in the mid-palate the traditional flavors show up of blackberry and plum and then leaves you with a medium length finish of lingering fruit and sweet vanilla. No minerality, or earthiness whatsoever. There has to be merlot mixed in this. The alcohol is less integrated than I would prefer. This wine had too much fruit and not enough complexity.