Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Most of these hi-end Paso Rhone blends: you know exactly how they are going to smell, you know exactly how they are going to taste, and–by and large–you know exactly the people drinking them. With that said, this one hits a bit different. First of all–from several recent tastings–CDP at 15-5 is now the norm, so I’m allowing my mind to NOT hold that against hi-proof Paso bottles. But they’re big. And they’re burnt. All shooting for the RP and JD 96 and in doing so, present a shallowness of finesse.

Black, impenetrable ruby-purple in the glass, a nose presenting a welcome slight funk and fairly cheery berry on initial before it boils down to angry chemical burn and off-putting roasted vegetal. Moldy, awkward bouquet, one part sizzling black dearth and one part sharp acridity. There’s a lingering issue in the smell of this thing impossible to overlook and while hinting at depth of fruit, it really never closes the deal, resulting in a vague, distilled spectre of heat and un-glorious nuance.

Like a lot of wines marketed toward the well-heeled 99 fanatical club-member, it tastes better than it smells. This one actually punches a *syrah* episode rather well in the glass–though the smallest portion. We’ve all learned to cast Paso Grenache aside in worldly conversations, as it rarely exhibits the textures shown anywhere else. Here, the inclusion is a textbook non-event, as the kinds of things Grenache is famous for never reach the palate. It’s all big, blustery shock & awe, with MV and SY doing the heavy lifting. Brash pepper on entry muddles ridiculously-concentrated black cherry into a stew of unresponsive thickness. I love the middle: it opens bright tobacco-raspberry with copious layers of herb and earth but the greatness is short-lived, as spicy heat overtakes the mouthfeel and quickly melds into raucous tannin in a finish so obliteratingly dry you almost forget the tooth-ache. I honestly think this wine will age rather well, but there’s nothing diametrically pointing to that conclusion–unlike almost every other wine-producing regionn on the planet. Just a hunch. If you can overlook the heat and manipulated concentration: it’s rather well-balanced, and there are generous helpings of edgy briar bringing up the backside. Your call: Paso-wonk gonna see the upside; the rest of the world gonna judge.

2018 BOOKER ‘Oublie’ GMS 40/30/30 Paso Robles 15.1


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