Barely BARELY transparent deep dark crimson ruby. A completely un-shy vegetal mint dirty leather hot dust berry tart oppression rips out of the glass after a minuscule bottle-funk.
This is NOT your grandma’s Baron Herzog. I love branching out into areas where wines have a bad reputation and destroying the stereotype. Kosher wine is one of those. Straight-forward and unadorned by some of the lush frivolity adorning many Napa/Sonoma bottles these days, it takes a direct, youthful, energetic–and therefore a bit rebellious–approach to attacking Sonoma Cab head-on. Non-existent are petty fruit-forward insults. Not particularly apparent are soothing cloaks of oak. I’m also feeling stature-aggrandizing enzymes and additives were avoided. It takes the Alexander Cab and places it front & center for complete scrutiny in all its edgy brilliance.
In the mouth, rose hips and pie cherry all the way. A bitter crease of redwood-pitch and crushed pine-needles shrieks through the center, beginning in cool rushing water and ending on crushed granite hillsides, smoky cheese and bbq-sauce finding places to inject their magic. The cherry goes black at about the same instant the structure decides you’ve had just about enough deliciousness for one mouthful, but even in their insistency, the tannin and earthy berry sing a perfect duet–neither ridiculously flexing.
Loyal readers know my fondness for Alexander Valley Cab. I could maybe name a half-dozen producers still making this old-school style of Sonoma Cab: Hafner. Jordan. Byington. Long-ago Chateau Souverain and Simi. And now: Herzog. Betcha didn’t see THAT one comin.
2016 HERZOG Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Special Reserve’ Alexander Valley Sonoma 14.0