Madrone District

Mmmmm Cabernet. I love Cabernet. I love Napa Cab. All my Cab-haters out there be like meh… but I like GOOD Napa Cab, and Smith-Madrone makes a good one. Year-in, year-out. I’ve never had a bad one. Not even one *weird* or *odd* or *bad vintage* or even remotely *off*. And the price–a tired topic constantly making rounds through the blogosphere–remains an absolute bargain. Checking in on this 4YO proves no different. Deep sultry ruby, thick and dense at the core, a thin ruddy rim advertizing the savory goodies. Layers of spice and muddled briar pack the nose, a crisp dark-green melange of delicious tobacco, red dust and redwood hillside flora over cherry so dark chocolate, mint and salt it boggles in its *lightness* of concentration. Decanted heartily.

Visions of disgustingly deep berry swarm the entry. Powerful and rich, sweet and flavorful, tangy bitter exudes from the depth of blackberry in a strawberry-rhubarb sort of leathery angst. Perfectly balanced in expression here even at this young age, there’s no awkward edges, no glowing glycerine, no chubby splendor, no posting-up of lavish oak treatment obscuring ANYTHING but allowing pure Cabernet expression to flow freely. When was the last time you had a cab without a single asterisk? The fruit wanes delicately over the middle, letting structure speak: letting things OTHER than rich, terribly-concentrated sweetness, formulaic flavors or stupendous oak–things all-too-common in the current wagering for the tourist palate–do the talking. The acid plays with slight eucalyptus into a finish obviously rife with tannin, but it’s tannin you have to LOOK for between the clean, forever fruit. Go buy your 99-point desserts and be sad–I’ll just be over here with a real, affordable cab.

2018 SMITH-MADRONE Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mt. Napa Valley 14.3

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