Paso Robles, CA; 13.8% ABV
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 20 April
I got this bottle because I had shown it to a regular customer who was looking for “barbeque wine,” even though I hadn’t tasted it. From the macho front label, I had expected this wine to be over-the-top ripe, jammy fruit. He got a couple bottles, so I figured that, as a responsible salesperson, I should try it. It’s not what I expected it to be, but it’s actually something I like better.
On the first night, I was mostly disappointed. The fruit seemed pretty thin, simple, and acid, and dominated by stemmy bitterness. After the bottle had been open a couple hours, the fruit had come out — tasting of ripe, Paso Robles Cabernet (purple cherry, cassis, red cherry) — but it was still separate from, and IMO marred by, the same stemmy bitterness.
The next day, however (and this time, I just put the cork back in the top of the bottle), the stemmy bitterness had opened up and integrated with the fruit, becoming a pretty tasty wine. After a little air in the glass, it showed medium and dark red cherry fruit, red currant acid, some of the purple cherry / cassis, and a little black pepper. Probably, to get the most out of this wine, you should age it for a year or two, but it’s pretty good now.