I’m going to try hard to think of some nice things to say about this wine. The label offends me. The title offends me. The fact it has recently been #influencer darling-child does not surprise me, but they offend me in their general taste–and typical–but not surprising–lack of it. First of all, as someone who finds the social-science of wine–and its marketing–fascinating, it is a welcome experience to taste something the 99 considers great wine, and whose packaging is engineered (as is the contents) to be appealing to uneducated consumers. I don’t know who makes it–or its sources–nor what it costs. And it honestly doesn’t taste as bad as you would think. So there’s ONE nice thing… or maybe that’s two?
Bright effusive grape-soda chubby berry in the nose with subtle green-bean and light tropical notes. There’s a dirty pond-water algae swill lurking with what I *suppose* could be construed as dusty briar putting a little icing on the fairly calm “Cabernet” fruit. It doesn’t smell of alcohol (another shock), and the whole bouquet is a rather un-offensive affair that rounds out to expected flabby dullness not causing the gags I expected, but also tinged with smells telling me NOT to drink too much. I’m trying to write this review tasting as LITTLE as possible, as experience has taught me what will happen tomorrow morning from consuming my normal quantities of a wine like this. And no, it’s not a hangover. I’m decades beyond that sort of thing. The 1% know EXACTLY what I am talking about. I considered decanting it, but the target demo for this bottle would never, so I won’t.
Tasting it produces nearly the same emotion as smelling it. It is NOT stupidly horrible. It is sweet, YES. The fruit is a flaccid blob of dead berry, dark and clunky and feeling artificially un-oxidized. What does that mean??? It means this wine WANTS to be oxidized, but something is keeping it out of that arena. Sweet syrup frames the entry, and the barley-malt trickles down your throat accompanied by grimy bitterness which will definitely be described by WSET-4 as “lush tannins”. This wine is a switch with two positions: sweet and bitter–a precarious charade between baby-fat and cellulite, between street-smart and criminal, perfect body-work over thick Bondo, shrink-wrap-thin delusional typicity over ills the 99 are oblivious to. The finish leaves things in your mouth you want to be rid of forever, an acrid fruitlessness all the sugar in the world can’t soothe.
See? It’s not that horrible. but I am going to stop drinking, as I can already feel my temples begin to throb. I go out so you can stay in, but this is a bullet I am not going to take.
NV (2017 & 18) THE BIG RED MONSTER Cab/PV/PS 76/14/10 Paso Robles 15.0