2007 “El Jefe”
61% Syrah, 21% Petite Sirah, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.7% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 7 Oct
This blend looked very interesting, and a 2007 wine should be old enough, so I thought I’d try it. I found it rather ripe and soft for my taste, but I’m sure many people will love it, and I’d definitely give it Thumbs Up.
It was not bad at first pour, but I thought it needed about 70 minutes of air for the fruit to really come out. Then, it showed dark, tarry blackberry and boysenberry, with a “roasted” or “grilled” character, balanced with zingy acid of dark cranberry, and a slight herbaceous flavor close to the tar. The texture is on the thicker side and smooth.
The saved, single-glass, screwcap bottle had flavors that were redder and more integrated, more tobacco than tar, and perhaps more acid, but still very good.
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon; 15.5% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 8 Oct. Gone there now.
This Cabernet looked quite promising, with a very heavy bottle and pretty label. I think it’s rather similar to, but slightly better than, the El Jefe.
This wine surprised me by not being tremendously different from the El Jefe. The fruit is still on the soft and ripe side, although it has more tannic density and does taste more like Cabernet. :) However, it would not surprise me at all if this wine also had some Syrah or 1% to 3% Petite Sirah. While it was tasty enough at first pour, I thought it needed about two hours to become reasonably accessible, and I liked it best after three hours. The wine showed flavors of tangy boysenberry / blueberry in addition to the more usual Cab flavors of blackberry, purple plum, purple cherry, a little cranberry, still with some of the same “roasted” character of the El Jefe. The ripe fruit has plenty of balancing, ripe acid, and the finish is more tannic than the El Jefe.
The saved SGSCB was, like the El Jefe, redder and more integrated, but still very good.
Ron Piazza wrote about this wine: “Ok had to give this a try. At 15.5% alcohol I was expecting quite a bit of heat. Surprise, zero what you have is a lovely velvety wine, with ripe Napa fruit, dusty, cassis berries in the nose, smooth on the palate, a bit short in the finish but no real problems.”