Dark clear–but staining–ruby.  Red edges.  When I first opened this wine I did not like it very much.  It was nauseously alcoholic and had a shallow, fat, rubbery nuance which was a bit disconcerting.  An hour’s air has turned it towards a spicy cinnamon and nutmeg over considerable briar and gravel behind which a no longer shallow–but still fat–rubbery nuance and unstoppable alcohol preside.  You just can not get away from that on this one.  SOOOO intensely ripe and sweet in the mouth.  And AL.  No one can forget the AL–this wine tries HARD to get you to forget, but then it pops up again.  Typically I do not look at alcohol on the label but let my mind make a guess before checking at the end.  This one I unfortunately saw last week.  I was looking for a prop to accompany a post on elevated AL levels in wine and just started grabbing bottles out of the rack and BOOM this one slid out almost immediately with a big fat 16-0 on it and I went with it.  The down-side is: I knew the ABV before I opened it.  Still… it would take a fairly ignorant wine-drinker to not notice the AL on this one.  It curls the nose-hairs and burns the tongue and sears again on the exhale.  The nose rides waves of alcohol–in between which there are some seriously good cab profiles, but they are fleeting from early-pour through mid-swirl through middle-analysis through idle-glass.  Dense and figgy–think: FIG NEWTON (and not the ones at the health-food store)–but they did manage to work a little acid in for balance and finish with a mild–albeit syrupy–tannin.  This reminds me of Justin Isosceles, really.  Warm, rich and buttery all over, with just enough stewed-raisins and vinegar to balance everything out.  And a flavour you will forget by tomorrow.  Well, unless you save some to put on your pancakes.  I am impressed with the amount of balance this wine does manage to show in light of the alleged honesty of the label.  ♦

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