California Uber Alles

Cheap nose. Just shallow and cheap-fruited. Not feeling any sort of expectant Napa Valley Cabernet greatness–or even semi-greatness. Not even semi-good. Complete shallow, manipulated, thin and flowery fruit with little depth and zero complexity. Smells like a $10 Paso or $15 bottom-shelf North Coast red. Green public-park murky vapidness over trailer-park berry and dime-store perfume. Burnt wateriness with fake oak and injected structural myths.

In the mouth, a complete absence of fruit becomes apparent. Ridiculously thin and watery, Sweet-Tart abrasiveness sidles with vague pie-cherry, allowing capitulation to bitter dreams and more despondent black vagueness. Warm in glycerin-y areas, while shockingly cold and harsh in others.

I suppose on one hand it could be argued this is perhaps THE most left-bank bottle ever to leave Napa. But the chubby, sweet nose and obvious ripeness of the fruit argues otherwise. Just because a wine is shrill and acidic and unrelentingly abrasive does not necessarily a young Medoc make. The fruit in context is cheap: a watery ripeness devoid of freshness or vitality; the tannins green against the grittiness of dissolved California dark berry. It feels a bit sweet, and while alcohol is definitely not an issue, imbalance is paramount. Besides: given the pedigree, price-point, and marketing, I don’t think *Bordeaux* was the goal here. This wine just never solidifies, and all the “rich”, “lush” descriptors on the back label are not only problematic, but downright wrong.

2018 MICHAEL MONDAVI ‘Oberon’ Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County 13.7

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