I want to tell you about this wine, because I fear if I don’t, you’ll never know about it. Santa Ynez Valley–predominately along the far eastern areas in Los Olivos and Happy Canyon–is still in its teething-stage in the grand sphere of world-Cab, and even among California Cabernet regions. And this is a tiny producer not really specializing in BDX-varieties. Pretty much my WOTD at the recent Women’s Winemaker Celebration down there, and I’m pretty sure the only Cab being poured! I know spotlighting a Cab out of a room full of more-typical Pinots and Grenaches will get me another asterisk from those who love to type-cast my palate, but I don’t care. This wine is frickin GORGEOUS.
It’s ripe. Let’s start there and get that out of the way. But Happy Canyon seems to carry these wines straining at the 15-oh mark rather well on its broad shoulders of acidity and grip. Deep purple-ruby in the glass with almost-blueish edges and well-defined legs. Robust tobacco and black-briar coats the heady cherry and rich berry: a grainy, powerful nose touching on Luxardo and bitters while dark-chocolate ripeness stresses concentration and plentiful hang-time. OR… just not watering back or fiddling with RO. Pure ripeness and ABV’s are NOT just numbers pegged absolutely on a black & white scale. They HAVE to be taken case-by-case. Decanted generously.
Tasting it seals the deal on every reason I gravitated toward this wine (it was the only one I went home with). Ridiculous berry charges on rather watery wings straight in with incredible focus, calving off slabs of acid and chalky earth into a tannic chasm. It’s bright: *natural-wine* bright or *barrel-sample* bright, the fruit layered with springtime growth and careful oak, licorice and green pith in a multi-faceted tug-o-war. But there is no supremacy to be had. Everyone pulls together, and the resulting wine is a tour-de-force of juicy complexity begging for at LEAST a decade in the cellar.
This is Cab. This is cab-goals. THESE are the cabs we’re looking for. 4 barrels made.
2019 DANA V. Cabernet Sauvignon Happy Canyon SYV SBC 15.3