This wine is NOT what I expected. Given what I paid for it–and its unassuming label–I imagined a rather light, unstuffed claret-style of Bordeaux blend. It pours dark dark ruby, thick concentration and plentiful barnyard churning from the glass. A gloriously bretty little monster, with a nose full of browning grass clippings, curry-comb and more compost. It is NOT a “clean, fruit-driven wine”, but a drrrrty, muddy elixir, ridiculously earthy to the point of near-obfuscation of the fruit. Oh, but it’s IN there: sweet, decadent cherry and blackberry, ripe and rich, spicy-warm to an almost roasted feel. With plentiful air, a far steelier minerality emerges in the nose–more zinc and aluminum and tarnished pewter than rusty.
Tasting it produces more upheaval of norm. Tart berry relies on copious acid to lighten the dark, gritty core, creating a chalky, astringent mouthfeel on an unavoidable foundation of healthy maceration. I’m really torn on this wine. Part of me wants to crown it with years of beautiful aging potential while the other side points out sinister imbalances which experience has taught will not perform well. It is not alcoholic or flabby–I’m guessing 13-7–and the fruit is concentrated and fleshy. The tannin which originally matched the nose in their rubbery roastiness become smooth and the fruit around them sweet with a generous decant–and that step has contributed greatly to the evening-out of other awkwardnesses through-out.
What’s it gonna be, McConnell? Make the call. You can make or break this wine right here. Don’t be wishy-washy. I like this wine. I like it a LOT. No one in the 99% will. It is funky and savory and sharp and thick and murky. The gorgeousness is one side of the coin. There are parts of it that concern me. But I don’t think I have ever tasted a young BDX without areas of concern. I’m going to go with the former: I think this wine will be stupidly beautiful 5-15 years.
2018 HOLUS BOLUS ‘Genuine Risk’ BDX blend cab/CF 73/23* Los Olivos Dist. Santa Barbara Co. 13.7
*this is a wine-blog, not a math-blog