The Die Has Been Cast

Black-brown and incredibly staining.  Big fig newton plum tumbled in petrichor arises alongside an alternating stewwed meat and SERIOUSLY aged beef.  Perfect melding of anise and tobacco create a spine of spice and earth to offset the very ripe fruit.  Wines like this always come with a certain amount of expectation.  What is a $200 bottle of Napa Cab with a 40-50 year pedigree supposed to taste like?  When I drink $200 bottles of cab, I make SURE they have a pedigree of strength and are not huge fat disgusting chocolatey over-ripe sweet messes designed for people with more money than taste buds and created by consulting winemakers in labs.  Hence I am drawn to bottles with some history–first of all because I love Napa and Sonoma history, but most importantly: these bottles typically have a vested interest in maintaining a consistent core of structure despite this costing them at the points-market.  I find it esteem-able for a producer to sacrifice sales to morons who demand 95+ wines by working with what the fruit has and bottling a wine which will last 30 years in exchange for probably never exceeding the low-90’s.  I’m just guessing here on this wine–I never look at scores–but to me this tastes like a pretty solid 92-93-point wine.  Which, for a lot of buyers in the 200-dollar range, is a death-knell.  Not me.  If you want proof of this, look at JR’s scores in relation to RP, WE, WS, and AG across a single Cabernet over several Napa vintages.  It becomes pretty obvious she values structure over initial WOW!  And so do I.  Give me that beautiful firm meaty or even vegetal substance, peppery spice and tannin.  And this bottle has all that in spades.  In the mouth, a Skittles-stripe of candied green sharpness creates a focal-point over the chaparral and lonesome dry wind blowing cinnamon rolls–sticky and wet–cooking… somewhere…  Salted nougat and black walnut vie for attention in a mouthfeel that is ripe ripe ripe but so unfat… so unflabby.  I’m guessing 14-8.  Sharp and focused, the aformentioned green stripe maintains a presence loud and clear, arching through the entire palate–breathing out only after 3-4 hours in decanter.  Late-settling-down merely brings back the initial fig and bright plum, layered over real Asian lacquer-box, black walnut and just a slight beautiful hint at NyQuil.  Tannin–minced out of rock and red dust–requires frequent teeth-wipings and near-chewing to process.  This wine’s a bargain.

2009 INGLENOOK Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Rutherford  14-8

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