Bright fluorescent purple with pink edges. THE most plasticine unctuous aroma imaginable rife with cloying fruit and oak-and-mineral modifications. Decanted heavily because of age and price-point and honestly it DID help. It settles down into some sort of ingratiatingly overt extract of wood and earth which is almost palatable. Every once in a while, I reach out to the third shelf of the supermarket for a glimpse of what corporate swill middle-America splurges on. There’s 15 or 20 labels here, and all have devolved seriously in the past 20 years. Once-proud labels have turned their entry-level offerings into immediate-Pampered Chef-party pleasers and erased any glimpse of what once made them “wine”. Chateau Souverain, Louis Martini, Hess, Kenwood, Murphy-Goode… all wines at the 20$ PP full retail discounted regularly to the 12-15-dollar range. All of the actual *wine* has graduated to each of their next-label-up and the quality of these has fallen in the past two decades to meaningless, fruity, sweet crap. Here’s the thing, people: STOP SHOPPING AT GROCERY STORES FOR WINE! Seriously! You can get actual, real, worthwhile, nuanced, REAL wine for this same PP if you just take your money to an actual wine-shop! You don’t HAVE to spend outrageous amounts of money! You can STILL spend 12-15 bucks, but you will be getting actual WINE, probably made in relatively small lots, by a real person, high-quality stuff with pride behind it and not something lab-created to fit a corporate taste-profile for marketability in 10,000 gallon tanks. Don’t get me wrong, I love Olive Hill estate and I love Merry Edwards and Helen Turley and even Tom Montgomery but tasting Silver Label today after having it many times in the 80’s and 90’s is downright depressing. In the mouth, thin and bitter, but overshadowing all is more of that perfect flavour-profile sequence of events listed in the dictionary under ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ with a generous portion of bitter which red-wine lovers have trained their palates to accept as normal. Nutty and watery and fiercely mouth-drying I have now done my duty and reviewed a 2012 cab available everywhere and TEN THOUSAND steps up from Charles Shaw and Yellow Tail but oh dear Dog why. The point here is you can do way worse. This wine is completely drinkable and even enjoyable. There’s just no there there.
2012 B. R. Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Silver Label North Coast 14.3