Dark dark purple with clear edges. Somewhat staining and impenetrable. An intense gameyness, raw meat and overt vegetal, wet concrete and weird home-wine cellar-flaws convinced me on opening I did not like this wine. But decided to decant and think through. After about an hour of air, it settles down and loses all of the strange, construed issues and turns into a quite interesting liquid. Heavily extracted, with a crazy cedar and eucalyptus bouquet. Lovely woodsy oak packed with spice and briar. I drink a fair amount of mountain cabs from Sonoma over-the-line from Napa county and Alexander Valley cabs but it has been some time since opening one from Dry Creek Valley. Have always been a big fan of Meeker and Mazzocco, etc. and keep a fair amount in the cellar, but haven’t really isolated the nuance in cabs from the Western hillsides of the valley for some time. This one is definitely extracted, with massive ripe cherry fruit bombing the entry alongside ample acids and an always-ready tannin structure. It does not carry the absolute briar and mind-numbing structure of Alex cabs, but heads more in a direction of sweetness and polish before structure overtakes. Still, it is obesely ripe and the fatness detracts somewhat. Otherwise, very nice balance screams at you over the palate, tinged only by a slightly annoying alcohol hotness. I think this wine is drinking at nearly peak. I would love to say another 5 years would turn out something truly stunning, but the flabbiness will turn it all pruney as the very shallow–but momentarily intense–fruit takes a back seat. Still, at 22$, this is one of the more interesting Cab experiments I have tasted recently. Granted, it is 50% Merlot. Perhaps therein lies the rub. There’s… just… something… missing. In this case: Half the Cab is missing! This makes perfect sense now. The backbone of Cab, the suppleness of the Merlot and the funk of Malbec. We’ve all had these wines… they are momentarily wonderful, but there lacks a compelling nuance which drags you back again and again and makes you want a case in your cellar. Now, at two hours, the heady fruit and sublime oak overtake anything a true cab fan could interpret as ‘ageable’. If you find this, drink it up and enjoy it–and it is truly enjoyable: rich and ripe, with cinnamon and nutmeg vying with the acid and the supple fruit fading off into the rather soft tannins. I would trot this out against quite a few blends double the price. 14-5 I am going to go all nice tonight and give this a highly recommended ♦♦ but don’t get used to it.