Solid black. Early nose ridiculously hot, slowly opening up to fresh fruit with a side of funk. Thick mulberry and a hogshead of sharp weedy briar still mingle concentratedly and off-sweet with all that heat. A heavy decant results in funk-emphasization and the fruit heads off down a much darker, dustier road.
Another super-market top-shelfer that I am sure is corporate now. I love trying these wines, now 20-30 years on that I haven’t visited for probably half that. People constantly ask me for supermarket recommendations, and I like to be prepared. Occasionally, there’s a good one. Here’s a 13 I found lurking. Remember all the hubub about 2013? Kinda died down. Haven’t had one in a while. Is it still the VINTAGE OF THE DECADE? or has 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 all subsequently been named VINTAGE OF THE DECADE?
This thing’s filling the room. You can seriously smell it all over. Can’t wait to taste it. Holy shit more rocket-fuel from Napa. Bitter, hot and STUPENDOUSLY young, there is little finesse to this thing. Pretty sure I got a little scalp-run just tasting it. The entry is black and bitter, there are sweet cravings for chocolate and cherry cobbler staring out from the Burmese tiger pit of black tea and coffee grounds, carefully covered with logs and brush of tannin–waiting for you to fall through. And you will. Fruit manages to hang on ferociously through the heat and raspiness of the finish, taking hits from all sides and sailing on valiantly.
Here’s my call. You have four options:
a) it’s 15-5 and I’m gonna pass
b) it’s low-14’s and I’m gonna buy a few for deep cellaring
c) It’s 15-9 and the LABEL says “14-5” and I have a heavy decision to make
d) who wants the d?
e) go by what you taste and screw the label
2013 WHITEHALL LANE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14.2