(14.6% alcohol; mostly from Seven Hills; 85% new oak): Saturated medium ruby. Less showy on the nose than the Cabernet Sauvignon, with brooding but very ripe aromas of black cherry, mocha, dusty rose and violet. Compellingly sweet and fine-grained, with deep black cherry and dark berry flavors complicated by an element of Belgian chocolate that carries through the very long, building finish. Tannins saturate the palate and cheeks. This is less harmonious today than the Cabernet Sauvignon bottling but longer on the aftertaste. Chris Figgins described 2013 and 2014 as "pretty much identical vintages, although 2014 was a more even growing season, with fewer heat spikes." Both vintages, he said, had "good acidity considering their warmth. The 2013s are a bit angular while the "14s are more user-friendly wines." Incidentally, Figgins told me that he's not afraid to water back his musts in hot years, "but not with Seven Hills fruit, which typically matures in terms of flavor and phenolics at fairly low sugars so it's not necessary." Figgins added that Seven Hills fruit shows "a more feminine profile" that he believes would be damaged by any dilution. (ST)
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