THis is a TEN DOLLAR bottle of wine. And not Grocery Outlet $10–FULL RETAIL $10. And I know what you’re thinking: classic Badenhorst grenache and cinsault–but no: almost half cab. It drinks in a warm, familiar way, somewhat like the inexpensive Mendocino and Sonoma wines a lot of us cut our teeth on. Medium ruby, with a blueish glow and chalky pink edges. The nose has a brittle tobacco smokiness to it, roiled with a bit of old-world funk and grimy earth floated on an elegantly-fruited core of raspy raspberry.
Tasting it brings one word to the front: Wow. How you make a wine this GOOD, bottle it and stamp it and ship it halfway around the world for that kind of money and sell it next to withering losers costing 6X as much is one of the great mysteries of wine-marketing. But they did it. Supple and not-smooth, regional characteristics swooning at all corners: on one hand shockingly dense while on the other, perfectly drinkable and gosh-durn yummy. Bitter and intense, feeling obligatorily old-vine and bush-vined, the fruit a concentrated and murky miasma of berry and stone-fruit pondering many questions. I would have NEVER guessed cab blind–especially knowing the producer–it’s all Rhone gloriousness jammed into a ridiculously-structured package. Honestly? I might have said Carignane. Tongue-wipingly acidic and gratingly tannic, the plumb berry never giving up its strangle-hold on the overall feel, a wne so infinitely *drinkable* while not succombing to modern threats of “porch-pounder” or “quaffable” as the key-word appeal of MOST inexpensive red wines today are programmed. This needs to be on every shelf in the US and an embarrasing testament to how far most producers in CA wine industry have strayed from the mark.
2020 A.A.BADENHORST ‘The Curator’ Cab/SY/Cins/GR 48/39/12/1 Swartland South Africa 14.0