Dark garnet, deep amber edges staining the glass orange hard. Wow, sound familiar? Dang these 12’s are aging fast. Maybe we’ll do 12’s all week. That would be fun. 7YO should be a pretty good sweet spot for some of these upper-level classic supermarket charmers. Big grimy nose. Thick and dirty–dirty with dried ripe fruit, not peat and earth. There’s a strong mint referencing up from below, slowly making itself known and doing its best to counter-act the density of the cherry reduction, but it needs a little more help–and I’m hoping it comes from the Earth & Mineral Department. I’m convinced enough it is NOT a flab-farm: I’m going to decant it pretty hard.

Yeah, that helps quite a bit. Still, it’s not churnin out edginess, but relies on fruit density to carry the impression of earth behind it. It’s just really ripe. I wonder what the ALC is on this? Gotta be 14-8? There’s a slight clean, bright grip poking up, but oh man: all that dirty chunky blackberry is slathered on EVERYTHING.

Tasting a wine like this is almost like settling a bet with your nose. Oh man, in the mouth, direct and bright. The fruit is seamless and NOT over-wrought. It is BRILLIANT. Focused and streamlined, not really wavering too much down the asides I was picking up in the nose. It doesn’t taste flabby. It doesn’t taste dried or oxidized or gritty-grainy. Sharp and acidic–while relentlessly ripe and concentrated, I will give you that–the middle explodes with briar and hillside clarity, twisting the Jolly Rancher around into a wrought-iron heft you swallow and it clogs there for seemingly decades, never wanting to go away. And there’s a tiny bit of heat.

Do I still think this is hi-14’s? Yes. What was that train-wreck last night? 14-oh, *allegedly*? This thing had me a little concerned in the nose, but oh man, you taste it and all that Mt. Veeder goodness just churns in on. And this thing has quite a few more years on it. The tannin is flat-out gorgeous. Just NAILS. Here’s a 12 I’m glad I have a few more of.

So how we feelin about 12 now that we’re a half-decade in?

2012 MOUNT VEEDER WINERY Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14.5

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