The Giant Killers?
$40 Cabernet should be great, but is it?
Fruity and creamy on the nose with subtle underlay of dried herbal notes joining well balanced oak in supporting the core of ripe black currant and black cherry fruit. Nice clarity on entry, this offers a great combination of ripeness and power along with transparency and structure. There are plenty of tannins, with a slight drying edge, and acidity that is present if a bit soft but the flavors are rather pure and fresh, all currant and blackberry toned and playing off the fine use of oak. Finishing fruity and bright as well, with acids that emerge from the blanket of fruit and zesty tannins that cleanse the palate this is awfully well done. It’s also delicious! 92pts
Lots of dark oak greets the nose along with dusty soil and lightly dried leafy aromas under olive laced black cherry and black currant fruit. Elegant on entry, the well framed fruit has a lovely dark character, broad shouldered and narrow waited with well integrated acidity and dusty tannins lending support. The palate gains lovely brushy, dried herb and tree bark notes adding complexity leading into a rather explosive finish. This is still tight and wound up on itself but the wonderful length and freshness to the fruit on the finish, with it’s gentle sense of innate sweetness bodes very well for the future. Complex both texturally as well as aromatically. 92pts
Opaque and showing a little age. This is smoky and grilled beefy on the nose with a nice combination of sweet black plum and blackcurrant fruit, smoky herbs, soil tones and vanilla oak. A little tight still in the mouth with tannins that are softly austere supporting a rich, savory core of fruit. There's still a lot of mineral earth and some wood toast here but the fruit, wild blueberry and currant toned with a little bitter chocolate streak to it is emerging on the midplate along with a hint of truffle that persists through the long finish. Still a bit tough and edgy this is a fine rendition of mountain cabernet with length and a touch of throw back rusticity. 91pts
Nuttty oak greets the nose along with hints of pipe tobacco, spicy wild black berries, black currants a little spicy dried mushroom and lightly toasted spices. This is smooth in the mouth though the initial polish gives way to a grippy little mid-palate ripe with fruit skin tannins. There’s good depth to the fruit, which flashes some mineral nuance on the palate along with hints of toasty oak framing the core of dry, firm and somewhat tight black currant and black plum fruit. This is rather spicy when it comes to Cabernet, rich and ripe yet lean with excellent snap on the palate and a finish that is driven a bit but the oak but delivers a long, fresh if dark fruit impression as well. Theres lovely purity to the fruit, great balance and attractive complexity here though it does show some heat on the finish. 91pts
Super herbal and even vegetal though sweet on the nose, sweet green peas layered under tarragon and dried thyme with lovely spicy cumin and coriander top notes. Broad and almost plush on the palate with softened tannins and integrated acids making this very easy to drink. there’s plenty of black currant fruit up front and some plummy, chocolaty fruit flavors as well all leading to a clean, fresh and precise finish. Easy to drink and full of red cherry and red currant fruit with an elegant quality to it but after the nose this comes off as a touch simple on the palate. Finishes with an almost raspberry freshness to the fruit. Delightful to drink. 91pts
Beefy and tight on the nose with a hint of cracked pepper accenting a slightly minty core of clear if small black fruit framed with coffee and lightly medicinal aromas. Ripe and rich in the mouth with lots of bright black fruit and nuanced sour plum, bitter chocolate and floral accent notes. There are some hard tannins here underpinning it all, and this has a lovely texture, rather broad but bright and a bit nervous in the mouth with a lovely flavor profile but it does drop off a bit quickly on the finish which is well endowed with woody tannins and shows some heat as well. The powerful structure here lends attractive austerity to the rich fruit, until of course the fruit fades away. Still there is this bitter cherry note on the finish that manages to stick around. Attractive and would show better with food. 91pts
Bright and fruity on the nose with lovely lift to the red plum, smoky oak, coriander, mineral and smoky paprika and dried pork aromas. Smells like cabernet and really good lomo. Bright and pinched on entry with lovely fruit tannins early on the palate. This is awfully young and a bit compressed today but it feels rather lively and bright, and perhaps a smidge under-ripe in the world of modern cabernet, which is fine by me. Not a powerhouse and rather transparent on the palate with some mineral edges and a nicely judged base of wood supporting the fruit along with some peppery and floral nuances. This is young, a bit simple and with slightly unripe tannins but at the same time it’s fresh and bright and pretty easy to drink. Not for everyone but lovely in its own right. 90pts
Smoky with plenty of noticeable oak spice on the nose and a vanilla streak layered in with a little olive framed tart bright red and black cherry fruit. Middleweight though fairly structured in the mouth with nice angular tannins that lend a rustic edge to the palate. There's also rather high, refreshing acids here supporting raspberry and black cherry fruit in a clear, firm style that leads to a firm finish filled with sweet wood spice notes. 89pts
Tight and a bit nutty on the nose with soft suggestions of blackcurrants and black raspberries under sweet, toasted oak spice. This is lean and focused in the mouth and while wood tannins add their mark early on the palate I can see them resolving with time leaving the slightly creamy yet clear fresh mineral edged red currant and wild raspberry fruit a little more room to grow in the mouth. Today the wine feels compressed on the back end and while there is decent length it driven by nutty, toasty wood flavors as much as fruit. Undeniably elegant though and with attractive purity. 89pts
Earthy and herbal with a suggestion of dry chili and lovely soil tones all layered over fresh berry fruit that is nicely framed with a touch of wood spice. This smells great. Surprisingly light bodied in the mouth with soft, ripe tannins and fine acids. This seems a touch dilute and while I’m loving it’s drinkability it does seem to be lacking a bit of depth of flavor. The finish is short and a little dull. How can a wine promise so much on the nose and come up this short on the palate. perhaps time will help flesh this out, though it is sort of pretty today. 89pts
Ripe and jammy on the nose with a nice base of well judged mocha, vanilla oak and a dusting of clove over soft, slightly minty black currant fruit. This is rather bright on entry with rich ripe prune and blackberry flavors supported by vibrant acidity, almost too vibrant in that it lends a citrus cast to the palate., though it does make this easy to drink. The ripeness eventually breaks through the acid barrier and the wood adds its weight on the backend before this fades on a modest, slightly dry and woody finish. Still it easy to drink and the freshness combined with the powerful fruit makes for an attractive package, though it tastes a bit like black currant jam on toast with cinnamon sugar. 89pts
Very unusual on the nose with an early blast of grapefruit pith followed by unusual dried herb, sweet tobacco and candied fruit aromas all wrapped in cherry liqueur and cedary oak. It’s not off-putting but is was unexpected. Atypical in the mouth as well with a bright, fresh character to the core of red and black currant fruit all framed with some rather nutty and creamy oak. This is a big wine on the palate but it remains fresh and lively with candied herbs and licorice flavors adding detail on the backend. There’s a lot of layered complexity here, wit the dried and candied herbs playing a prominent role and fruit decidedly to the red end on the spectrum, but it is very nicely put together. 88pts
Tight though this is fairly toasty with vanilla, dried ginger and caramelized sugar aromas. Round and plush in entry, even a little sweet up front with a nice layered attack of plummy fruit, blackberries and a bit of grilled meaty over dark and toasty oak base notes. The tannins intrude fairly quickly on the mouth and while this reveals a fine core of dark cherry fruit it’s fairly wrapped up in subtle oak. Turning dry and chewy on the backend and through the modest finish, this comes off as very well made and in a rather modern style but a bit simple. 88pts
Tight on the nose and aromatically driven by cinnamon dusted vanilla aromas and a huge pipe tobacco, briary top note. Very low on the palate and a bit chewy with fruit extract, this is a smooth, plush wine filled with blueberry pie filling and candied black cherry flavors all layered over sweet toasty oaky spice. In ti’s style it’s quite well done but this is too fruity for my palate and dries out quickly on the finish leaving behind wood flavors and tannin along. 87pts