Criminal as it is to drink wines of this pedigree at this age, somebody has to do it, and I pick ME. Impenetrable pink-ruby, staining purple edges, a heavy decant is in order, although nothing changes terribly with copious air: it is rich and perfumed from the first pour, the nose a thick syrup of cherry and raspy blackberry, tanned hide and smoky earth running in seams of dark chocolate-coated spice cake. The thing about this wine is: it doesn’t really come off as an infantile example–a barrel-sample of obliterating structure to wade through–rather a supple, highly-concentrated example of Cabernet nectar. Rose and violet and jasmine play heavily into the bouquet: a suppleness quite friendly even at not-quite-3.
Tasting it produces a powerful show of muscle and finesse. Sure, the structure is abrasive and brash, but the way it mingles with the delicious fruit is a spectacular show of balance and muscle-bound strength. Acid twirls at the surface, prefacing powerful tannins at the end of the fruity slide. The structural counter-points scratch great rifts the lush berry is happy to patch in an apologetic dance leaving little room for wound. Shockingly delicious to drink at this age, the alcohol feeling refreshingly low, diesel and fresh asphalt massage the velvet bristle and grapefruit minerality, allowing chunky green-brier injections to the berry which seamlessly translate to tannin.
Layered and eye-rollingly delicious, a Napa Cab easily placing in the top echelons of the category. Buy as much as you can afford. Quite nice now, and 2 decades to go.
2018 SECRET DOOR Cabernet Sauvignon Hirondelle Vyd. Stags Leap District Napa Valley 14.0