This is a good wine. There’s nothing inherently *wrong* with it. This would be a great entry into the oft-levied discussion in regards to California Cab of “what makes $30 wine different from $100 wine”. Often, there will be $30 wines presenting great value and aplomb–unsung heroes able to place themselves alongside wines far more expensive. Also, there are many $100 wines lacking definitive distinctions appraising said value. I honestly think the latter is easier to find than the former, but winebro will instantly discredit those arguments in favor of the blingy labels. This would be a great mark to pin those variances against, as it is *good* and *nice*, but fails to over-achieve in any category. The marque is there: this house has presented numerous wines over the past decades deserving of high praise. Likewise the provenance is stellar: Readers of this blog know my love of Alexander Valley cabs. But here we have a bottle which doesn’t rise above readily in terms of grandiosity. Entirely drinkable–but un-inspiring.
Deep staining ruby in the glass, a nose murky with vague earth and vegetal while plodding along with over-wrought deep-spice and garishly-oaked nuances. Muddy while safe, a Kool-Aid cherry defining the bouquet and not… much… else.
Tasting it fails to bring any of the things I love about Alex into the picture. Alcohol is presented in levels hinting at burn, quelling hoped-for minerality and volcanic definition with ease. The fruit is vague cherry and berry, thin and buried under said heat. Chewy to a point, but one-dimensional at best and the readiness with which it placates the 99% palate with smoothness and un-definition disappoints and depresses. It could be red blend for all I know: NOTHING compellingly Cabernet arises from the mouth-feel. Smooooth and uninteresting, the sweetness and lack of varietal or appellational trademark casting huge shadows on the whole. Bitter, fake-macerated chalky safeness solidifies the finish where one hopes to find structure. An 8.99 BTG crowd-pleaser at BEST–a $5.99 Trader Joe’s selection at worst.
2018 SEBASTIANI Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Sonoma Co. 14.9