I was quite excited when I noticed Velvet Bee had added a cab to their otherwise fairly stalwart pinot/chard/sauv-blanc roster. Light ruby in the glass, fading out to a wide pink-purple edge. Dusty earth in the nose, hints of bell pepper and clean spice gather around the fairly simple cherry fruit. It’s a nice bouquet, plainly dressed and not shooting for the stars like most versions of this variety nowadays.
Quite easy on the palate as well. I’m warning Paso, Happy Canyon and Napa bling-bro right now, this is NOT a wine you’re going to find compelling. There’s no massive concentration, no thick, syrupy decadence, no layers of oak, no blockbuster tannin. It’s a fairly straight-forward, simple version of cab, and honestly: I could use a bit more stuffing. Nicely balanced in its lightness, lots of little nuances chiming in for correct–while light–varietal-correctness. A welcome bitter briar plays around with the raspberry, while light acid sparkles over the vague earthiness. Tannin is basically non-existent, and the whole thing just comes off as a light, simple red wine. Despite the almost-15-oh, there’s minimal heat–only sweet fruit. Fun to quash back, but at Cabernet prices: leaves a bit wanting.
2019 VELVET BEE Cabernet Sauvignon Riata Oaks Vyd. Los Olivos Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara Co. 14.93