Old varnish on worn furniture, a sediment-crusted glass blows sweet tea, rich dark berry compote, and the kind of vanilla blend which only comes from cab settling down after a decade. A little buggy and briary, and in the mouth the fruit carries itself clear and thin over polishing structure. Raspy-dry, still abrasive, and I would love to taste the non-reserve version at this age. Not a huge decadent cab–thank dog–berry and sharp spice all on an even keel. These did not have effusive fruit on release, and everything is coming together nicely throughout, even though we all know fruit doesn’t *grow*. No, in this wine’s case it is purely a matter of the foundation rubbing away into smoothness, and while this isn’t a wine which will knock anybody’s socks off, it drinks and smells like a charming entry into the Santa Barbara Cabernet sweepstakes. I still run into people regularly who are surprised Santa Barbara makes Cabernet, and let me tell you when you get out in Los Olivos and Happy Canyon on the east side of the Santa Ynez Valley they really shine.
2008 BRANDER VINEYARD Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Reserve’ Los Olivos District Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara Co. 13.5