Red Blend

A shockingly boring little wine. It drinks well–if unassumingly–now, and if past history with this release is any indication, will develop nice tertiary notes with a decade of age. But there just isn’t any stuffing to it, so take your chances with aging. This is the problem with highly-rated vintages in Napa: 2016 was a darling-child rated 98WS and I recently did a poll on Facebook of everyone’s favorite vintages of Napa Cab of the past decade. 2016 was the FAR-AND-AWAY winner, and frankly… if it’s THAT popular with the *yummy* crowd, I head the opposite direction.

Dark black-purple, nearly impenetrable except at the purple rim. Chubby and smoooooth-smelling, with light banana and vague spicy and earthy notes of indefinite origin and under-whelming presence requiring serious search behind black cherry–also not particularly bright or impressive. The nose could be any of a myriad of drugstore-Napa labels costing one-quarter this iconic bottle. Bland and dull–even with hours of air.

Tasting it elicits near-identical excitement. Rather fruitless, relying on dark concentration of *something*–nothing clearly identifiable–a bland mélange of assorted dark fruitiness cobbled together in chuggable red-blend fashion. This is BV’s only Bordeaux blend, no? I need my Bordeaux blends to be blended for intensity and French-connection, not plush sippability for the *red blend* crowd. It feels low-acid–although not particularly hi-pH–and tannins are an un-offending affair barely adding intensity to the finish. The shallow fruit drops off early, allowing a chalky late-middle to usher the brown sugar, blood orange and cherry preserves into a light and forgettable finish. It is a nice drinker, but that’s about it. Easy and forgiving with no varietal components contributing identifiable qualities they are typically curated for, it registers itself firmly in the crowd-pleasing, early-drinking ‘Red Wine’ category so popular now, but it will never be confused with a Meritage place-mark from California.

2016 BEAULIEU VINEYARD ‘Tapestry’ Cab/ME/Bec/PV/CF Napa Valley 14.9

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