Valiantly Driving This Tannat Home

Dark ruby with tiny edges.  Obvious sed.  Sharp pickled vegetable, squished grasshopper, lemon-zest bouquet tethered against obliteratingly black ripe cherry pie and fat, still cassis and oak.  Toying dangerously with oxidation but not anywhere really near it yet, it’s just I have to bring it up because I can imagine what this thing would smell like in 24 hours.  Not to prognosticate evil, just you SEE this label, and you SEE this blend and you SMELL this ABV, anyone with half a brain HAS to see where it’s going.

I respect Tooth & Nail and I appreciate the market they serve and therefore was quite curious to try this club-only high-end blend.  I suppose I was having fantasies of some brilliant tannic bomb but it was not to be.  It merely continues the consistent over-ripe pedigree of the other T&N offerings into a slightly more elegant capsule.  Raisin-y, vinegar-y and prune-y, the flatulence of the fruit progressively detracts from what are obvious structure-points below.

In the mouth, more fat McDonald’s hamburger-and-french-fries sorta round, greasy voluptuousness but you can not HELP but notice the Tannat screaming through.  I LOVE Tannat, but in this instance I am embarrassed and insulted for its existence and well-being and pride.  It is being used here to create a note of acid, pepper and tannin against a Cab-and-Temp grouping which could EASILY provide all of that themselves if allowed to.  But no.  Just like crutch-adding Syrah to a BDX blend to round things out, here a wonderful variety is being whored out merely for its structure-points.

Rich, round, flat, smooth and hot, bug-spray and linoleum, it is all sweet nectar dripping shamelessly down your tourist-throat.  OMG THIS WINE IS HUGE WE’LL TAKE A CASE no it’s not! it is fat ripe bullshit and you are a moron.  Black, chalky nutty leather brings the Temp into play and the Cab is nowhere to be found.  Well, it IS Paso cab–so it can exist in complete non-existence for ever without anyone noticing any varietal existences.  Did that make sense?  If it didn’t, then you’ve been imagining too much into Paso cab.  Or listening to tasting room staff too much.  Bottom line:  This wine is crafted KEY WORD; CRAFTED to appeal to the most undiscriminating of palates who think red wine tastes like… well… THIS.  And there will never cease to be a market for these palates.

2011  TOOTH & NAIL El Valiente Red Blend Paso Robles California  14.7

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