Marin Layer

When the 1% talk about Monterey County, they are always referring to Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot or Arroyo Seco Chard, or maybe Chalone grenache or the pockets of syrah located there. When the 99 talk about Monterey County, they are referring to the billions of gallons of watered-down, fairly low-varietally-correct plonk harvested from the thousands of acres of rolling flatland. But what if I told you there was serious cab produced in tiny quantities by select labels? Here we have something probably closer to San Antonio Valley, and Marin has pulled a strong contender out of the barrel.

Deep black ruby and incredibly glass-staining, a nose sharp with acid and earth and concentrated black cherry. Tannin and grit are evident even from the first sniffs: the whole thing dark and unctuous, grimy and robust, lush lily and sullied berry coming hard through mint and dank soil.

A bit flabby on the palate–feeling Paso-like in translation of cab fruit to the tongue. Sharp acid brings up a musty sort of metallic texture, fading off quickly late-middle. Biting heat also sullies the mouthfeel, reducing the chubby fruit to pruney nuances devoid of freshness or dusty splendor one typically expects from this variety. I could smell this wine forever, but tasting it leaves a lot of money on the table. South of Carmel Valley though–and excluding Paicines–this is going to be one of the most serious cabs you’ve had from MontCo, and as it devolves into musty thickness, I just wish it had some tannin to offset the cardboard-y wetness contained.

2016 MARIN’S VINEYARD Cabernet Sauvignon Monterey Co. 15.0

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