40 is the new 25

Impenetrable black, no edge lining, just abrupt and staining the glass mercurochrome. A bit closed in, warm roasted vegetable skewers on wet oak wood and light dried fig for fruit. A bit of green bitter pops through, juxtaposed against a bit of not fresh funk–which work pretty good together.

Decanted heavily and getting a lot of air… not rushing this one. It’s only a $40 wine, but I have had many experiences with Unfiltered over the years and to me it has always been a really tight wine–and I don’t mean that in a good way–holding onto its fruit very tightly and often–especially in older vintages–there just simply isn’t any. Never been a huge fan of this wine, where the Reserve or Oakville can be quite elegant and well-bred, Unfiltered has always gotten poor marks with me–mostly for its extreme thin-ness of fruit and flat-out boring-ness. I haven’t visited this label for a few years and so am looking to this 13 with great anticipation for both a) see if it fits my other experiences and b) see how winemaking style has changed–BECAUSE THEY ALL HAVE–to fit the modern American consumer palate. I will actually be prouder of this producer it it stays true to its old meager ways: signalling consistency and uncaring of trends, but I assume the latter will definitely play, and how could you fuck up 13?

In the mouth, wait: now there’s a sort of soapy peppermint coming off the nose–everything still mired in a deep dark dreary dried and uninteresting ripeness flopping between cereal-grain and alcohol. In the mouth, well, OK. Couple of things right off the bat. It’s not boring. And it definitely has a lot more going on in it than the $25-dollar-level of major, OG producers. Black and obfuscating on the palate, the fruit is a gritty, grainy, chewable concoction flashing pure blackberry cola with a backup of DG and bitter stew. It’s SOOOO thick. It is teeth-coating and clammy, and all the black walnut, black tea and black licorice work well to support an obvious presence of fruit. In the middle a bretty little woo-woo of cellar-floor funk makes an appearance–to standing ovation–and the tannins are biting and alive, impossible to ignore–even with their considerable heat.

OK, so a couple things. First of all, back to that a & b thing: I can see glimpses of BOTH. This isn’t a wine that knocks you off your socks with opulent nuances of extravagance, but at the same time it has richened and concentrated itself into a wine with serious chops. This is easily the best Unfiltered I have ever had in my life. And the first one I have had which causes me to want some more for the cellar.

2013 ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 15.0

robertmondaviwinery.com

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