I Love Santa Ynez Cabs.

Dark purple and staining with clear edges but not impenetrable.  An interesting combination.  Voluptuous, heady nose of old barrel, spice, lanolin and blackberry fruit.  Not a trace of alcohol.  Disgustingly solid-fruited, but oh so soft and sophisticated.  An interesting combination.  Dare I say this wine is “smooth’?!?  God I hate that word.  A bit of age and maderization shines on the bouquet and palate.  Dense and dark, but polished and–almost–thin?  An interesting combination.  Perfect acid balance and tannin probably very soft at release and now just a subtle drying in the finish.

Wow.  An almost perfect wine.  In today’s age of over-extraction and dense fruit, hi-pH OR hi-acid/blistering tannins–take your pick–this is a welcome softness.  God I hate that word too.  An interesting combination.  This is shockingly good wine.  I never really played with Pierre Lafond’s cabs before.  When I first discovered them 15 years ago, I was blown away by their entry-level Pinots and Syrahs.  I have had their ‘Santa Barbara’ cabs and was not completely impressed.  THIS takes things to a whole new level.  It’s like you see a girl on a magazine cover and it’s all perfect and touched up and then you have lunch and she turns out to be an really interesting, intelligent person.

I have 3 more of these but not sure where they are going.  The extraction and density we are all accustomed to of late is not there–something we all know can REALLY make a wine short-lived, but at the same time, the lack of overt tannin or acidity makes me think this bottle will somewhat fade gracefully.  Probably nearly at the peak–in terms of today’s palate–and will be an aged, wonderful bottle of cab in another decade.  Hmmmm:  It’s almost like 1985 all over again.

Props to Mr. McGuire for seeking the balance of this area before it was trendy.  And–are you ready for this?  TWELVE POINT EIGHT.  You read that right.  Welcome to 1985.  Go drink your stupid 19-oh zinfandels and your watered-back 28* brix cabs and gush about how wonderful they are and be sad.  I know 30 people with their 94-point, 15-9 cult syrahs who would call this wine “thin” who will pull out their cherished bottles in 5 years and they will be oxidized, tired CRAP.  I’ve been to that party.  No thanks.  I will sit here and enjoy my perfectly balanced, deeply fruited, Happy Canyon Cab from someone who understands finesse.  And I will drink another one in 10 years and I will be right.  I’m always right.

2006 SANTA BARBARA WINERY Cabernet Sauvignon Grassini Happy Canyon Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara County 12.8


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