Olin 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

Alexander Valley AVA, northern Sonoma Valley, CA; 13.8% ABV
$11 at the Berkeley and Richmond, CA, stores on 24 May

Olin_2008_CabSauvI was impressed by the bottle for this wine (tall, heavy and tapered), by its being apparently made by a real winery in a good region for Cabernet, and by its back label’s boasting about aging in new French oak barrels.  The single CellarTracker note about this wine rated it 91, which seemed pretty promising.  However, I found the wine repulsive.

The wine opened to show flavor of light cherry, but of simple, cheap, cherry candy.  Over a few hours in a decanter, the flavor darkened to become more cough syrup-like, and eventually like artificial blackcurrant candy (if there is such a thing).  I saved a single-glass, screw cap bottle of this wine, hoping some miracle would occur.  But no miracle occurred, and the wine was as bad as on the first night.

There have been a number of times when I write that a wine is candy-like, and therefore not to my taste.  I have tried to add that, in most cases, this is just my preference, and I would guess that many people would be okay or even very happy with the wine.  In this case, however, I cannot imagine that anyone would be happy paying $11 for this wine, even in a regular wine store.

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28 thoughts on “Olin 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

  1. Pasowino

    got to disagree or maybe you got a lame bottle the Olin came across as a nice competent Cab with an interesting complexity and sold out at the Atascadaro GO is days, surprised i could not get hit on this site for the Nonno Giuseppe 2003 Zin for under a fiver I got the last bottle; dam fine zin!

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Greetings Pasowino and welcome to comments! I’m glad to hear you and your fellow Atascadarans liked this wine. It’s always possible that part of the lot was different from the rest. As for the 2003 Nonno Guiseppe Zinfandel, I thought the 2002 NG Zin was decent for $5 but not particularly exciting, so I never got around to trying the 2003. Thanks for your recommendation, although I haven’t seen it in stores near me for a while now.

      Reply
  2. RW

    I opened a bottle of Olin 2007 CS today, bought at San Jose GO yesterday, $11.

    The color is a bit light, lighter than usual CS, definitely not opaque. But the flavor is rather bold. Yes, it’s a bit sweet, with some caramel/tart flavor. It’s a decent wine, to me. Nothing stands out great, but nothing much to complain. Only one thing unusual – it leaves froth on the glass after swirling. For the price, it’s definitely not a great bargain at GO, but I wouldn’t feel too bad for it. Even if knew this would be what I would get, I would still buy it to give it try.

    Reply
      1. jwc

        Lots of comments, interest in this wine, but in reviewing the website, the main business of Olin seems to be, wine making equipment. The first vintage of cab sav was 2006. Frankly unless the wine maker is a rising star, whom someone in the wine press has discovered or at least there is some buzz about, I’d avoid this wine, with only two vintages under the belt. BW’s review confirms it, for me, major pass. At $11, which is fairly high for a GO wine, walk on by…

        Reply
        1. Seedboy

          Well, and note that the only wine they are selling from the website is that 2006; looks like GO got the next two vintages.

          Reply
  3. john

    Olin 2008 CS….You have to wonder who is tasting and making the decisions to put wine on the floor for sale in the G.O. management. I recently purchased a 10 Chevallier Macon Village and 09 Bourgogne chardonnay’s. Tasted them together and found them to be dreadful. Absolutely no charm, fruit, tart, unpleasant wines that you would not purchase again. I am familiar with French white burgundy and have had some wonderful Macon Village. My approach is simple in tasting wine. No intellectual apologies or flowery words. If you drink enough wine over a few decades you either like the wine or not. I reluctantly poured them down the sink. That is my basic standard. Like in a legal trial, guilty or innocent!
    The cotton candy thing in wine is revolting. I purchased a few New Zealand P.N. which had this quality. American’s talk dry but love sweet. G.O is not geting the quality wines they used to be selling years ago. nd I am much more careful about picking up the “unknowns” . Buyer beware!

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      We all need to keep in mind that for each wine at GO, there is some reason why the prior owner was willing to take a hit by selling it to GO. Some of those reasons have nothing to do with quality, but some do. A few years ago, the Oakland store bought the salvage from a truck crash. The insurer of the load considered it a total loss but there was a lot of good wine unharmed; 8 cases of Ridge Geyserville were sold out of the back room after Ridge expressed displeasure over its wine being sold for $14. Sometimes a winery changes its distributor and the distributor who lost out no longer has any interest in pushing the wine, but does want cash. Or a vintner needs to sell some wine to generate cash. However, I suspect that this Olin cab is at the GO because it is now two years past vintage and was not moving.
      After the 2007/08 crash there was a wine glut and we benefited from it. Now the economy is growing so there is less unsold but sound wine. However, look for some bargains as the massive 2012 vintage from Northern California moves from “new release” to “yesterday’s news”.

      Reply
      1. PW

        You know, I was thinking about this yesterday. The last 4 bottles of wine that we’ve tried from GO….co-incidentally it was also our last 4 bottles of wine that we’ve tried in general (Xwinery Zin, Norton Malbec Rosada, a Nobilo Sauv. blanc one pinot grigio that I cannot remember the name) have been not just thumbs down, but down right bad. While I agree that one person’s tastes differ from another…usually we can find something decent or palatable. But like this cab…candy, or chemicals, or petrol…these aren’t tastes that we like in our wines, so to us they are horrible and a waste of money, no matter how little we spent.

        We’ve had some very good wine from GO too. Surprisingly (as in “buy a case”) good. Most of the time they aren’t bargain prices though…but a little better than regular chain stores. But those have been coming so few and far between lately that we have begun sourcing elsewhere.

        It doesn’t save you money (or time if you are constantly returning, which we don’t do except on one occasion) if you don’t like what you are getting.

        Ultimately we decided just to keep a watch this blog for descriptors that we really like in case something comes in that might be worth trying again.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          I’ve not tried (because I haven’t seen) the first two wines you mentioned above, PW. But I’ve recently had a couple of decent Pinot Gris and I enjoyed the Nobilo SB that I reviewed last December. And in terms of loss of time returning product…that’s not an issue for me. I return wines on my next planned visit to GO…so I’d be headed there anyway. GO made their own policy…any product in the store (not just wine) that you don’t like (not that’s just defective) can be returned. I’m just holding them to their policy. Those of us who are the blog editors/reviewers spend a whole lot of money buying wines so that our readers don’t have to until they get our opinion (and the opinions of our readers). Or they can jump into the fire like we do. And we get no remuneration for our efforts. Believe me…if I don’t like it, I’m returning it! And if that policy changes, I may just have to rethink my purchases.

          I have to admit…BW posed what to me is the most important question…has anyone else out there tried (and liked) the Olin Cab? There have been a dozen replies to his post, but not a soul who has tried the wine (including me, but it’s not available here…yet). If I could find it, I’d buy a bottle just to compare notes with BW. And if I didn’t like it…I’d return it.

          Reply
          1. PW

            You make some very good points Lim13. And were I a reviewer, perhaps I would feel similar, both on the returns and for the purpose of writing reviews. Just being a consumer, I have not been happy with the want to keep/want to return ratio of late and am finding my trips to GO to be a waste of my time/money (unless I see something here that intrigues me). And, so when BW posted this, I suppose that showed in my response.

            I have not tried this wine. And won’t, simply because BW’s descriptors were good enough for me not to waste my $. However, when I do see something that you guys describe (like the Lupi Reali or the Little Rascals PG) that fall within the descriptors I like, I do go and see if it’s available. I should leave with only what I came for…my mistake seems to be making poor choices while I am there.

            Where the frustration lies for me is that usually, there are AVA’s that are (at least I have found in most cases) pretty reliable. Even vintages that you can mostly count on, if you follow the regions, field reports/harvest notes (which I do for my favorite regions). 8 or 9 times out of 10 anyway…there’s always a possibility of disappointment. And yet, I cannot count on that being the case here. I’ve had Napa wines that I’m hard pressed to remotely tell it was a Napa cab. Too often we feel like what we’ve purchased has been badly handled at some point…because how often can a wine be “that bad”. You mentioned the Nobilo. I fully expected that to be good, based on the review. It was very paint thinner like though…so I don’t know. Perhaps I’ve just been unfortunate (except in a few happy cases) with my choices.

            Reply
            1. jwc

              I just returned a bottle of a 2006 Australian chardonnay called Exodus yesterday. I had picked this up a month or so ago, after looking at CellarTracker and some ying/yang reviews, some liked it others not so much.
              The wine was going south, and while I thought I would exchange it, as I didn’t have a receipt, they gave me a full refund, w/o me requesting one. Pretty nice, I thought of the folks at Tanasbourne. My thought would be along the lines of Lim13, or input that SB has made in the past. Try a little do dilagence as the saying goes, do some homework, google CellarTracker or winemag.com (Wine Enthusiast) especially if you are not familiar with the producer or varietal. If nothing is listed, and no one here has given it a Thumbs Up, its not worth your time more than likely, and certainly not your money. I’ve got to say, over the last couple months, I’ve been pleased with what’s shown up. The SA wines, the Neyers chardonnay from Carneros. Yesterday I ventured over to Vancouver, and picked up a couple 2012 Wines of Substance Syrah, and some of the Lupi Reali 2011 Trebiano D’Abruzzo which have been favorably discussed here, so while there are certainly lulls in what is available, patience is a virtue, but do some R & D, and the batting average should improve a tad.

      2. GOWineLover

        Hit the nail on the head here. The great deals of yesteryear are few and far between but there are still some nice deals (albeit at ever higher prices) to be had. In the last year for the amount of wine my wife and I consume, it has been enough, especially on the red side. I’ve never had issues with whites from GO since we mostly like sauv blanc and they always seem to have something in the $4-5 range that’s good and some interesting stuff coming here and there (true dessert wines, Alsatian whites, etc). Try the CFR Sauv Blanc if you haven’t – I saw it back in stock in Pleasant Hill.

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          GO is a pretty reliable market for good SB. In that case, they are there because they are a year behind vintage (or sometimes more). Personally I like SB with some age on it so I am fine with that. With red wines I believe we are better off sticking with real wineries rather than negociant stuff (look for American Canyon or labels you’ve never heard of with Santa Rosa in the fine print for the wines to avoid). Although, as in the case of this Cab, sometimes the real wineries make a stinker and it goes to the GO because it just was not good enough to sell. I’m suspicious of that Rock Wall zin partly because it never appeared on the winery website.

          Reply
      3. BargainWhine Post author

        A couple things. First, “cotton candy” is a reasonable description of the type of flavor I disliked in this wine. I had thought of “SweeTart.”

        Second, when I got this wine last Saturday, someone stocking the shelves told me that buying had been reduced for a while to clear out extra inventory. According to him, inventory was down to acceptable levels and the buyers were bringing in some interesting new wines, which should arrive in the next week or week and a half. That would mean new arrivals starting next Sunday to Wednesday or so. We’ll see!

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          BW, I’ve also heard that corporate has a mess of wines of the Bronco ilk they want to sell off, etc. I hope that happens soon enough so we can see something different.

          Reply
        2. lim13

          Inventory is a huge issue in the wine industry. I spent considerable time as a district manager in the industry training, re-training and counseling store managers in the importance of maintaining acceptable inventory levels. As we all know, wine suffers badly when it sits on shelves in all kinds of light and tempertaure conditions for long periods of time. And inventory taxes are paid on stuff that isn’t selling.

          Reply
        3. BargainWhine Post author

          On the other hand, I stopped by the Berkeley store today and I can’t recall anything new.

          Reply
          1. seedboy

            Newest stuff:Aussie Sparkler, Aussie Grenache Rose, and the Rutz 2008 Sonoma Cuvee pinot. The latter wine reminds me of the Patassy but with more tannin and it takes a day for that big raspberry fruit to shine through. Strangely, Berkeley has that wine listed for $9.99 but Oakland only $5.99. At Oakland it is a very good deal. Oh, BTW there are also Rutz LH Chard 2009 (I’m told it has good acidity) and a Rutz Chard.

            Reply
  4. lim13

    One wine lover’s 91 is another wine lover’s “repulsive”. I think we’ve visited this conversation before, eh BW? Wine and personal taste…go figure!

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Lim13. Could be, I guess. That note was from someone who tasted it at the winery. It’s possible the GO got some batch of it that had not been stored well or something like that. If anyone has tried this wine and likes it, please let me know!

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Or really, I would like to have any second opinion. Has anyone else tried this wine?

        Reply

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