Crimson garnet with no edge. Considerably alcoholic nose exploding in cedar and disgustingly rich fruit. Everything coalesces in the nose–buttered strawberry and raw beef with over-ripe banana and everything awash in a caramel. Base minerality, sharp and brilliant, toys with the wood, like rain after a forest fire.
This thing is honestly a bit fat. The decadence exists on a level seldom seen in smaller-lot Napa wines and will never grace Sonoma, Paso or Santa Barbara. But is it grace? Or is it flabbiness? At the expense of being hyper-critical, there could be an argument for slight oxidation. And throughout, an AL burn. In the mouth, rich and full, brightness is not the first puppet to show, but full round richness is. Cedar and graphite note themselves first and you are left groping for fruit. Everything briar and conifer-sap and chalkily tannic exemplify themselves from the get-go and over the middle and where is the fruit? Oh, it’s in there, black and staining, grasping at everything to show itself. Syrupy and concentrated, it defies swallowing.
Here’s the interesting thing about this: I live on the Central Coast and am a huge wonk for the Central Coast but I cut my teeth on Napa and Sonoma (unlike A LOT of people who wonk for the Central Coast) and one of the epiphanies you have while drinking this wine as a reviewer of various regions is: Sonoma *might* produce something like this, but Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County will never. Ever. Ever. produce anything even remotely approaching this bottle. It just isn’t possible. The delightful concentration of fruit–while dallying in over-extraction–barely is able to raise its head above the earth and mountain nuance. The finish also mocks the also-ran’s: steely and vibrant, teeth-cleansingly opaque while charmingly voluptuous. Throughout all, an AL burn bothers. I am guessing 14-7 but not going to dwell on it.
2008 LAMBORN FAMILY VINEYARDS Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mt. Napa Valley 14.8