Cloistered

What do I want to say about this wine. Obviously, 17 is possibly the worst vintage in recent Napa history, and asterisks of 2011 pop to mind immediately. But 2017 is bad for a lot of opposite reasons than 11. Rainy and cold to start–of course–but then a heat-spike created quite differing situations as harvest progressed. Medium ruby with a pink edge, a nose toasty and flaccid. Glorious spice flows from it, but mired in muddy chubbiness. Blood orange blackberry combine with heated cloyingness across the bouquet. The whole thing feels flat and unctuous, with oak and classic Cabernet nuances barely registering on the *viable* scale.

Obviously, you want to find some redeeming quality to a bad vintage meriting purchase and cellaring, but here it’s hard. Green and vegetal-pithy–and not in a particularly nice way. Fruit thin and shy, bolstered by rife tannins a bit out-of-whack. The whole package feels vapid and lacking, and predictions of age do not carry overwhelming suggestion. I want to like this wine; to recommend it on the weight of *unpopular support*, but I can’t do it. I feel this will blossom as an unfruited, definitively hot, awkward wine un-able to resolve its issues with any sort of time. I hope I’m wrong, but the hot mouthfeel and vague fruit balance argue the contrary. Blended from a who’s-who collection of vineyard sites, your call is as good as mine. Cellar at will.

2017 FREEMARK ABBEY Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14.5

www.freemarkabbey.com/

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