Medium garnet with slight brick before the clear rim. Big dull smoky ripe fruit, a spice-bite grinding nutmeg and motor oil and menthol into a peachy-keen smoothie running closer to deep nectarine and stewed apricot than cherry. Tart and alive in the nose, powdery orange-mold minerality honing and enlivening the ridiculous deep blackberry-infused Tuaca and Amaretto.

I’m not a huge vintage-junkie, but I have never been super-torn on 12. These are wines which drank lusciously on release and honestly I’ve only seen the flabby cautious signs materialize in a couple examples. Still, they seem to be big fruity things, ripe and dense, but fortunately, most of the cabs I consume have a history of acid and balance.

Let’s taste it. Immediately the density of this thing is apparent. Black and syrupy, all those Tuaca and Amaretto visions flash by again, but in the mouth the maraschino element frosts the rich bitter middle, gradually giving way to the structure but by no means does the concentrated fruit go anywhere fast. It actually turns up the pie-cherry bite late-middle, laying the drying bite of rose hips and gunpowder tea on your tongue while a sultry pond of oak and volcanic sediment pool around in approval. Goth-bitter and emo-dense in the finish, the fruit NEVER lets go, charming and wooing for hours into the finish more hot than tannic. I’m guessing 14-7.

I’m going to have to go back through all my RJV reviews and see if I can gather a favorite. Not sure it is possible. How fun would it be to taste all of these side-by-side? As I recall, Pritchard Hill Stagecoach and Coombsville fruit. This is a gorgeous 12.

2012 RJV VINEYARDS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14.8

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