Code 38

Thick, staining and purple-rimmed, a nose churning out polished dusty floral and rich berry blackened with loam and cover-crop. Creamy blackberry–sauteed in butter and herb–brings heady savory umami to a bouquet dense with complex fruit and oak. A bottle like this deserves a good decant, not to soften edges or facilitate balance, but to enliven existing layers into manageable context.

In the mouth, a soft, smooth picture of restraint emerges despite the hedonistic texture of the nose. Sweet points of cinnamon and nutmeg run along cedar and redwood channels, the ripe berry NOT a syrupy wonder, but basking in quite thin pools of cool calm. Briary blackness envelopes the core, a pillar of confident structure emerging, avoiding no-holds-barred tannic extravagance, but integrated with powdery softness so well down into the fruit it nearly seems light. All sensory connections are plugged into elegant slots, the agreement between sugary dilection and hillside concentration a handshake so subtle the balance of power requires searching. The green pith of finish never topples the ripeness: they exist in near-perfect harmony.

2018 SECRET DOOR ‘Block 38’ Cabernet Sauvignon Sage Ridge Vyd Napa Valley 14.0

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