|Ceramics by Wayne Bates.|
St. Helena, California, U.S.A.
$28.99 -- Costco, Austin, TX
Color: Deep cherry red
Nose: Blueberry jam, cherry, white pepper
Front: Cherry vanilla
Middle: Cream, raspberry
Back: Cafe au lait, blueberries, firm tannins
Burns clean?: Yes
This is a large, rich wine, in a big California style. The oak is elegantly balanced, though, with interesting fruit. And it's not cloying or sticky; it has nice texture, and will evolve into a much smoother version of itself over time. The tannins will kick you if you try to drink it too soon after opening, so beware of it at a restaurant and ask for some time to breathe. If so, it's splendid with food--on its own at this age, it's a little too wound up, like having dinner with a smart, talkative humanities graduate student; he's brilliant, but more pleasant when occasionally silent from scarfing down food. Oddly (and maybe it's just my weirdo palate du jour) it was more fascinating with the bleu cheese, tomato, and iceberg salad tonight than the grilled ribeye (though tasty with both).
Wine Spectator gave this wine 94 points, which I can't quite support, and not just because we don't do points here at Caveat Emptyer: but I will say that it's a bargain at the Costco price.