STORYTIME: When I was a kid, my cousin Mark and I would build plastic models of fighter-planes, hang them from the ceiling light in his bedroom, light them on fire and shoot at them with BB guns. Totally safe stuff here. It created a horrible smell with lots of sooty black smoke. Why do I tell you this stupid story? Well, it should be obvious. Combine that with a little toe-jam and pancake-syrup, and you have this wine’s nose. Flaccid, acrid and sickening, getting it past your nostrils is an event unto itself. There literally is NO mineral, no characteristic Cabernet spice, no edge, no earthiness, no NOTHING redeeming as to varietal correctness.
And then you taste it. An adrenaline-rush of sugar, I suppose black cherry? and a harsh bitterness I am guessing the fans will call “BIG, BEAUTIFUL CAB” settling down into a nothingness of structure that will make this 80,000-case wonder fly off the shelves into the hands of numb-skulls who return to the same shelf time-after-time for a wine that pleases them.
The American sweet-tooth could never be more apparent than in this bottle. It would be SOOOO much fun to take a few bottles of this to Europe and open for winemakers there. I can see their faces now. Does Europe make cheap, bad wines that are terrible? Of course it does. Every region does. But bad European wines are thin, acidic, fruitless, quaffable numbers that cost 7€. They are not $30 stalwarts force-fed on the unsuspecting as regionally iconic. This is literally the Starbucks espresso of wine. Burnt, chemically contrived, too rich, too dark, too EVERYTHING. And people line up for it.
2017 JUSTIN Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles California 14.5