Brilliant staining ruby with clear edges. Big round nose, walnut shells, petrichor, coffee grounds and molasses almost shockingly un-briary for an Alex. Pretty sure the powers that be at CdB decided long ago there was a certain risk in making a 50$ BDX blend in Sonoma TOO MUCH Alex and not complying with the softer Sonoma styles and, indeed, the polish of Napa Valley.
Been a fan of this wine–AND this label–for the better part of three decades. CdB has gone through a lot of changes–not even sure WHO owns them currently. Not sure they have a tasting room either–although that is pretty hard to imagine. Used to be there kinda across the street from Chateau Souverain. Probably moved into town now. I remember their plain old Merlot got CGCW *** in 94? maybe? Not 84. Who knows… time flies. Drank a shit-ton of it. Then there was another cab. Briarcrest? And possibly a third? And the Chardonnay’s: Flintwood and Calcaire. Guessing none of these labels exist anymore. Huge fan. Actually had some Flintwood CH’s in the cellar back into the 90’s. Might still have them.
Fruit flows off in waves, rich and sharp, delectably elegant always–never slutty. The beauty of this wine has always been a trifecta of forgetfulness (“OMG! Marlstone I completely forgot about Marlstone!”), rarity (not exactly on grocery-shelves everywhere in CA), and simple complexity (it IS Sonoma, don’t forget). It tries hard at being a crowd-pleaser, but bitter green tannin–especially in something as young as 2011–evident in nose AND mouth, make it that fascinating girl-next-door tomboy friend-zone you’re going to have a lot of fun with but probably never sleep with. And obviously, this does not cheapen it. Quite the opposite.
In the mouth a core of peppery structure invades early and instantly, obfuscating the black-as-my-heart fruit. It’s there, oh BELIEVE ME: it’s there–round, deep, black as night, liquid velvet, fat blood-sausage fruit, heavy in cumino and mint, a tiny asparagus, and all buried beneath a sweltering tannin cloaking.
2011 CLOS DU BOIS Marlstone Alexander Valley Cab/ME/bec/CF 82/11/6/1 14-5