This is heady stuff. Black and impenetrable, the extreme rim finally showing a ruby-purple glow. Stupendously concentrated on the nose, the kind of clogging green-briar, scorched-earth and blackberry maceration typically reserved for juice-concentrates. It’s gorgeous though, the fruit coming through clean and thick, leather and asphalt-abrasion carried on a sweet-berry note, gritty with charcoal and wet lumber and barnyard concrete. Intense foliage and floral crush the bouquet, but NOTHING can chip away at this ridiculous blockbuster fruit-stew.
Tasting these wines is always the turning-point. CAN it put aside the Paso stereotype of heat and bulk to allow fresh fruit and acid to shine? CAN it offer restraint where delicate nuances like minerality and spice can shine? Some can, most can’t: the allure of marketing dollars coming in off BIGGER IS BETTER tourist wines generally wins out over balance and complexity.
This one does a pretty good job. Yes, it’s thick. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, the fruit is a liqueur elixir border-lining on syrup. But the green spritely-ness of the vegetal and herb charges through, relying on earth and base textures to carry it. The fruit–while definitely edging on flabby–manages to inject SO much sharp acid and tannin as to elevate it to proper Sonoma & Napa Cab sensibilities. It’s a big wine. It’s a huge wine. It’s chalky and dry and fastidiously structured. The berry and briar contain a myriad of spices and mountain terroir–enough to raise this wine to levels I can whole-heartedly recommend–despite what I am guessing is an EASY 15-2.
There’s been a couple other Adelaida wines which do this for me: gaining my appreciation and recommendation despite density. People are always like, But Steve! It’s a hi-alc monster! How CAN you??? Well, sometimes it works. Alcohol is just a number. I’m very cautious of my Paso Cab gushiness, but this one WORKS. OMG it works so well. It’s a beauty. But I hope you like them big.
2016 RANGELAND ‘Limestone Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon Adelaida Dist. Paso Robles 15.3