Glowing dense ruby with an abrupt edge. Massive briar and herb explode out of the glass, driving a loggerhead of mint and cassis into your nose but backed up by a dusty, dirt road fruit ridiculously concentrated, calving off layers and layers of floral and spice–buoyed AND felled by petrichor. I could smell this all night. Decanted hard. Late breathing, the thickness of the blackberry and wet fern meld across rich dessert, but everywhere the pang of acid alleviates any notions toward flabbiness.
In the mouth, the wall of fruit starts out simple enough, gently trickling cool cherry onto the entry, backed up by the tiny prick of cinnamon oil and bitter anise. A steady drizzle of plump berry begins its obliteration-cycle, packing obnoxious portions of grainy, gravelly Dr. Pepper against all sides, propped up with shrieking acid and the steady stain of beautifully bitter oak. High over the middle more Caltrans-mowing intense broken-stem briar arches the whole mouthfeel into ethereal dryness, but the fruit is quick to catch up, busting up tannins designed for near-time enjoyment into a 5-minute finish.
This is one of those expensive wines that is just SOOOO fun to drink RIGHT NOW. Exquisite grace and balance in a base-liquid lacking anything ostentatious which will throw it awry in the next decade. This thing will age beautifully. Buy a 6-pack and drink one every-other-year. Gobs and gobs of concentration. Black, inky, and staining. Confection and acid balance nicely alongside oak and tannin. Beautiful, beautiful Napa Cab from a vineyard I am prohibited from saying. But it’s Donald Patz’s new Napa valley cab project. Those of you who read the trades know he’s bored now and this is the sort of devilishness bored hands come up with. He shoulda made cab a LONG time ago.
2014 SECRET DOOR Cabernet Sauvignon “IX” Napa Valley 14.5