Upon opening there was a hint of "dirt" and mustiness; but after 15 minutes that element cleared. The nose was still a bit shy, but the powerful body was nicely present, with warm earthiness and plenty of dark fruit, tannins assertive but not overpowering. WIth a little chill to about 65 deg the wine came alive, and over the next 2 hours an incredible complexity emerged that made the drinkers at the table gush. Coffee, chocolate, tobacco, leather, exotic mushrooms, balanced with blackberries, even briefly ripe raspberries, cherries --- all there. Oak just bound the elements together and made for a fantastic tasting experience. After about 3 hours and one sip left, the complexity waxed a little. So drink this between 1 hr and 3 hrs and you won't regret it. I haven't had a $20 wine of this complexity and quality for a long time.
Rating may be that this is still too young. This was extremely tannic still, but after about three hours it opened up and was smoother. I have more to try tonight and may make an adjustment. I plan to keep the second bottle for several years before opening.
I picked up this wine in the bargain bin of my LWS on a whim and checked here on CT when I got home. After seeing all of the negative reviews of this wine, I was tempted to return it, but instead opened it up. While this wine is very tannic and chalky, it also has some good acidity and is fairly balanced. I also detected some blackberry peaking through, so maybe it will be really ready in a couple of years. This really reminded me of unsweetened powdered cocoa. By itself it was a bit hard to take, I'll give you guys that. However, it was pretty nice with rosemary garlic pork tenderloin and salami and cheese. I liked it.
I'm not sure what to do with my remaining bottle. This wine is puckeringly tannic & bitter to the extent that it is one of only a few truly unpleasant wines I've ever consumed. It cannot be drank alone and I'm not sure what it would pair well with. Maybe munching on a stick of butter or eating lard straight from the can. There is a LOT of flavor in the bottle, but it's simply overshadowed by the "boldness" of the structure. Rating 70 points based on CT's suggestion that 70 is the threshold between "Below Average" and "Avoid." I would recommend this as a "curiosity" only (sorry, Kent!)
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