Catholic School

Thick ruby–almost blueish purple–with a sliver of a pink rim. Nice calm fruit, predictably glycerin, blackberry and waffles and warm cat fur, generous vegetal spice amidst the buttery baked goods–a sharp welcome that has blueberry bubbling directly behind and inside, forcing it to bend to the fruit. Gobs of dank weedy peat, blessed by the mint-god and baptized in a long–but not pornographic–oak program.

Not even sure when the last time I had a 14. I’ll have to look. You DO know on the blog with cab and merlot or BDX blends from Napa and Sonoma ONLY, I include the vintage in the tags. So you can search vintages and read everything I’ve written about a particular year for these categories. I’m not really much of a vintage wonk… I can’t rattle off the highs and lows and weather and yields and shit like a lot of people because I frankly Just. Don’t. Care. Until I start noticing a pattern. Then I start paying attention. And when people get all hung up on “bad vintages” in California, I kinda roll my eyes. Remember: The WORST vintage in California is still better than the BEST vintage in Bordeaux.

The fruit only has a second to speak to the tongue before structure struts in, shakin its butt around and pushing people aside. Literally: a concentrated–but momentary–firm cherry does a little dance with wet bark on entry and IMMEDIATELY the baby-baby firmness of the tail-end clamps down on all frivolity. Demerits for giggling. And boisterous activity will get you points off. Tannin is a massive pillar of spicy power, a little bit smoky, all stern and steely, acids curling around the classroom, cuffing fruity stragglers.

This is absolutely TEXTBOOK old-skool Napa cab. NOTHING is over-the-top or slutty, but it isn’t thin and unstuffed. Oh, the bling-bros will definitely think it unstuffed, but hey: you can’t tell them anything–they just want their pancake syrups. Flat-out gorgeous. And I NAILED it at 14-2

2014 FREEMARK ABBEY Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14.2