The straight 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is outstanding. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, native fermented, aged in French oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered, it’s a killer value that has lots of blue fruits, violets, graphite and leafy herbs in medium to full-bodied, concentrated, layered style. Savvy readers should buy a case of this and drink bottles over the coming 4-5 years, although I see no reason that it won’t keep longer either. A substantial change with the K Vintners/Charles Smith wines is the separation of the Rhone blends and the Bordeaux blends. Going forward, all Bordeaux blends will be released under the Wines of Substance label. (JD)
This 100% varietal wine from Goose Ridge and Frenchman Hills vineyards provides immediate appeal, with fresh aromas of blackberry, black currant and licorice. The flavors are full and don’t hold back, with firm lightly grainy tannins providing support. It still needs some time to stretch it legs. Give it an hour decant or wait until after 2017. (SS)
(aged for 12 months in 40% new French oak): Bright dark red with ruby tones. Black cherry, brown spices and menthol on the nose; suggests a wide range of ripeness but some Cabernet from the cool, high-altitude Frenchman Hills vineyard--from which Smith also makes a top Chardonnay under his Sixto label--provides energy. There's a slightly porty quality to the middle palate but this wine boasts terrific fruit intensity for its price. Finishes with substantial, slightly dusty, building tannins and a light herbal quality. (ST)
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