Neb from CA

Lightly smoky-nutty-meaty at first breath, a teensy bit of vegetal angst soiling the search for fruit. Thin transparent garnet all the way out to a wide clear rim. Match-head and a chubby cherry more lollipop than cola, more Charleston Chew than Cordial, but deep air definitely brings out a dusty liqueur. Inner-tube air and fibre-glas in the sun splash lazily from the core, an oscillating sprinkler dousing both grass AND sidewalk, but not cooling either.

It’s thick, it’s dirty, it’s got a lot going on for such a light package, and it see-saws back and forth between teeny-bopper bright and land-fill dreariness. Before I start in on my whole WHY CAN’T CALIFORNIA MAKE NEB rant, let’s see if it has any acid in it.

Fruit is a dreary muss, only lasting a second or two before shrill bitter clay absolute mind-numbing dreadful brashness overwhelms everything, setting off 4-alarm astringency fires all over town completely obfuscating any prettiness in the wine. The tannins are so tongue-coating, so mouth-filling, I’m actually quite speechless–and speech would be difficult anyway, as every muscle in your face is desperately trying to wipe your mouth free of this battery acid you voluntarily ingested.

No idea what’s going on here. Don’t care. There’s no way this thing ever out-lives the back end. The fruit just isn’t there. And before you start your whining, let’s do a refresher: I LOVE tannic wines. I LOVE vegetal, liqueur fruit. I LOVE transparent garnet wines. But this is out of wack. Why can’t California make Neb?

2014 CLENDENEN FAMILY VINEYARDS Nebbiolo Bien Nacido Santa Maria Valley 13.5