Dark Horse Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon Scharf Family Vineyard 2006
True to the winemaker's description, this wine is big. The nose is ripe cherry, but this Cabernet is hot. It's 14.4% abv is apparent in the bouquet. The high alcohol content doesn't throw off the balance on the palette, though. This cab is powerful and its has incredible tannins. There is a suggestion of blackberry, but it is fleeting. There is a wave of pepper and spice that would make most Shiraz's pale in comparison. The finish is a leathery, smoke. The "chocolate smokiness" in the winemaker's notes is there, but the chocolate is akin to semisweet cocoa mix. Did I mention this wine has some powerful tannins? I'm not an expert, but I think this wine would do well to breath for an hour before drinking. There is also a note of green on the palette, so it might turn out to be less of a monster in a few years. Pairings: Something with a creme sauce, or soft cheeses, to ease the tannins, or for something more intense: pepper steak. (Although this would probably be too overpowering for most of the population.) Price: 38 is a bit high. In another 5 years it would probably be a great deal. I found it on sale for 24 dollars and think that is a very reasonable price for a Cabernet this big.