My glasses will probably never be clear again. Concentrated fruit–impenetrable as the color–stuffs up your nose, clogging everything with stand-a-fork-up-in-it blackberry and briar. A MOUNTAIN of wet granite petrichor creates finger-holds for brown wet leaves and soil creeping down into dark abyss. Sharp structural notes are impossible to ignore–each swirl brings new peat and dried fig on rusty steel skewers. the fruit really quite becomes invisible to smell behind the sheer MASSIVENESS and brutal infancy of this wine.
Oh how I love second labels. Long-time followers know this is one of my favorite subjects–ESPECIALLY for Napa Cab. Here we have a STELLAR sub-label just oozing with gritty fruit and I can already tell you both WHAT it is going to taste like and HOW much of a bargain it will be–considering its *source*. Also, as second labels are often assumed to be early drinkers, I own many which–while they may never reach 20 or 30–are definitely something only the #drinkemyoung crowd can enjoy straight off the line. I’m guessing this is one of those.
A cavity-causing jolt of fruit concentrate jabs at you first. Searing acid quells the tendency toward over-wrought, but never reigns in the sheer magnitude of juicy berry. The acid morphs seamlessly to tannin, dragging your face along with it in a gasping, teeth-wiping, tongue-dance to get this stuff evenly distributed across all your pores. A spark of road-tar and diesel pop up, only to shape-shift to green-tree-bark and ridiculous paint-removing cranberry before you can actually pin it.
The pure invigoration this wine produces on the tongue is only equal to the purple rage it plays against the inside of the glass. Saucy and smirking–always holding a secret card to play calmly in moments of discretion to send you scrambling back to Square 1, and doing it with such elegance. But not without spirit. So much spirit.
2018 J-M-L Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14.0