Bright clear purple ruby with thin pink edges. Lightly staining. Ample sediment in bottle. Disappointed in nose. Formulaic and Welch-ey. Slight over-ripe glycerol, oak and AL. Somewhat floral, and not closed-in, but rather shy of anything spicy or amazing in the bouquet. Cellar floor and nearly-rotten citrus peel. I have bought Bouchet futures from this winery for years and I can’t honestly remember why I chose cab reserve this particular year. I have Bouchet from 2008 and maybe I just didn’t like either enough and so split a case between Reserve and Bouchet–memory fails me, but the reality remains I have a half-dozen of these in the cellar. Well… now 5. Decanted. Fairly fat nose continues on with really not too much of interest going on. Sweet and tart in the mouth, with thin cherry fruit almost immediately fading into ample tannin. Shockingly, more fruit blossoms mid-finish and gives me hope of a long-term survivor. The nose is all boring formulaic bullshit one would expect from a 20$ no-name cab made in Graton and trucked to American Canyon with a “Napa Valley” stamp on the label. The entry and taste–sans the rich California initial mouthfeel–is all Bordeaux. By *BDX*, I mean searching desperately for anything resembling a fine wine and coming up with several items but nothing compelling enough in the package to merit oohs and ahhs. Acid and tannin are the fore-front and the only thing tipping the balance is a bit of fat fruit at the entry and again mid-finish. The length of this explanation is testament to how hard I am trying to like this wine. One of my absolute favorite producers and I have long verticals of Bouchet in the cellar and last weekend tasted an AMAZING Cabfranc and added that also to the collection. But this one? Nose now degenerating even further into musty pond-water with just the slightest curl of oxidized fruit, and tannins increasingly chewy and over-whelming in the late palate. This will be so interesting to taste in 5 more years. I hope I am wrong. 13-5 and oh-so-barely squeaks out a ♦ although as unbalanced and awkward this thing is it really should get a ◊ but I just don’t have the heart.