Glowing medium ruby with staining pink edges. Steely initial instantly blows off to magnificent sarsaparilla and cola notes bound up in piles of sweat and mud. Like being deep in a freshly excavated hole–the smell of broken tree-roots and all with the backhoe still idling overhead. Overwhelming earthiness, but with plenty of high acid and fruit notes.
Rumor has it this is made by Paul Hobbs–have not confirmed and no indication of winemaker or blend on label. It has to be SY and Cab. Mab something else. It has so many SY notes and so many BDX notes but there is a spice–a peppery almost Temp or Franc? This is grown on the oaky bluffs down South Refugio, I have confirmed that much. Very interesting area… Sunstone, Kalyra, Lee Bettencourt and all that. Fairly warm, and I’ve been down there a few times early mornings during crush and never seen much fog, but… don’t go by that–I don’t live there. Everything else about this wine is a total mystery but you can do WAAAAAAY worse for 25 bucks.
In the mouth (and an hour of decant) it confirms everything you smelled. It is almost backwards like a classic barrel-taste: It comes off really tannic and fruit-meager in the entry and everything thins out a bit over the middle and GROWS fruit into the finish as the still-ample tannins subside. I love this wine. Tarry and bitter dissolves into almost-rotten plum… a leather strop… and over all, cassis and pepper. It is a little thin in the middle. Merlot? Is that you with the skinny waist? It can’t be a GSM. There’s way too much classic Cab going on. In Sonoma *cough* Alexander Valley *cough* it is fairly common to find 25$ wines worth laying down. Down here…. not so much. This is one. I am going out this week and finding a good deal on these and buying a few. There’s alot of potential here. I know the producers–hell, ANY producer today–probably had no intention of making an ageable wine. But they did. It’s all about yankin it off the shelf on release and takin it home and chugging it and take the money to the bank.
Barely a breath of oak and not a trace of alcohol (I guessed 14-2). Fruit lies there ready to pounce once the beautiful tannins get scrubbed away a bit. It is a beautiful package and I waited far too long to try this. I really do not want to know what the blend is because it will probably be something weird and I will be all OMG YOU CAN’T BLEND PINOT WITH ZINFANDEL!!! Oh well… this is good wine.
2011 BRAVE & MAIDEN Union Santa Ynez Valley 14.3