Thursday, November 17, 2011 - I opened a bottle of this wine and immediately splashed it into a glass. The first thing I noticed was the inky, almost black color, followed by the dark fruit blast in my nose. The CellarTracker scores I had seen left me with low expectations for this wine, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I found it a rich, succulent cab that hit all the right notes of ripe dark fruit, spice, and chocolate, with hints of eucalyptus and anise. It is full-bodied and has good tannins resulting in a nice, long finish.
Appearance: It is too dark to be called brilliant, but is a beautiful, rich color that won't allow me to score it less than 2.
Color: Deep purple-red, so dark it looks black in dinner lighting - a solid 2.
Aroma and Bouquet: Intense dark fruit with spice, chocolate and hints of anise and eucalyptus - slight herbal notes, but no detectable green pepper; 3.5 points.
Volatile Acidity: None - 2.
Total Acidity: There is little acidity to this wine, and little is wanted - 1.5.
Sweetness/sugar: This wine is fully dry, but the fruitiness gives a sensation of a hint of sweet; very nice - 1.
Body: Full-bodied and luscious in the mouth, despite the 14.3% alcohol - 1.
Flavor: The flavor echoes the nose and is luscious and full; fruity in that California way that is lovely but leaves me wanting just a little more complexity - 1.5.
Astringency: The tannins are perhaps a little rough and I think another year in the bottle will tame it so that it suits the mainstream tastes a bit more, but I like it - 1.5.
General Quality: For me, this is a top notch wine, especially at this price point. I would gladly accept this at $45 in a restaurant and would pay $20 or $25 in a grocery store - 1.5.
That makes it 17.5 points on my U.C. Davis calculation. I give it 89 points on a 100-point scale (though I'm tempted to give it a 98 to counter the lame, unsupported 75 someone gave it).