Vinted & Bottled by: Passages, Napa, CA
Purchased: Corvallis, OR 11-6-2014
I picked this one up at the wine sale and it’s still floating around some of the stores. I’d put off tasting it, again because it’s a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and I wanted it to have some time in the bottle. After the horrid review on the Vintage Ranch, we thought we’d go ahead and open this one (expecting the same results, given the factors were very similar: 3rd party producer, California designation, no website etc) to just have done with it.
How funny that one can be as bad a wine as you can imagine and another can impress you enough to say “whoa, this is very good for the price point (even beyond its price point)”.
You know how skeptical I was when I opened it too. I looked at the (burgundy/plum) color and thought “hmm…looks a bit thin-ish”. So I held it up to my book and I could not read through it. That made me laugh, now that it has suddenly become essential to know if I can read through my Cabernet before I taste it.
2013 Passages Cabernet is vinted & bottled in Napa, but the bottle says California (meaning that less that 75% of the grapes were sourced from a single AVA OR that someone sold off their inventory with the NDA that specified that the AVA couldn’t be used…I’m guessing the later). I’m quite familiar with the Napa/Sonoma/Rutherford Cabernet tastes and I’m willing to say that this wine has grapes from that general area. The 2009 Passages was apparently sourced from Central Coast grapes (but I’m very familiar with those too and this doesn’t taste like Central Coast wine to me…if it is, it’s some of the best Central Coast wine I’ve ever tasted).
Nose: Cassis, Plum
Taste: (Yum, no really.) The Cassis is strong in this one, not overpowering, but nicely noticeable. I taste Rutherford dust too…or a facsimile thereof. Plum is also evident…and even hints of licorice as it opens up. I also like that there are strong tannins in this one; so that tells me in 6 months or so, this will even drink better. It’s nice and dry. The fruit doesn’t make you wonder if it’s sweet…it’s really well-balanced. The mouthfeel is medium-full. It’s not a “big” wine but it’s a contender. It’s young and could use some time in the bottle to further develop, but it’s easily drinkable now (just knowing it’s a bit disjointed until it opens up in the glass or decanter).
This wine is exactly what I meant in my last review when I said you can taste the potential in a young wine, even if it’s not at maturity yet.
FWIW, while writing this, I sent my husband a text asking him to stop by the GO and pick up a few more bottles before he heads home tonight. It will pair so well with a holiday roast, desserts, cheese trays, finger foods…definitely worth the $6.99 (It tastes like an $18.99 Cabernet I just picked up from Costco last week).