Black dense garnet, staining and impenetrable. MASSIVE alcoholic funk equally black and dense. Big bell pepper, bacon and Everlasting Gobstoppers. Ok, so confession: I don’t know what an Everlasting Gobstopper tastes like, but I’m pretty sure it smells like this. The fruit is so un-definable toward one single fresh-plucked example. A horribly concentrated jamble of mixed berry jam, pear sauce, maraschino cherry, worn leather, barn-corridor and amaretto oak.
After concentrating on wine all day at Earth Day Food & Wine Festival, I went down to the cellar thinking, “Older, cheap, easy, polished, uncomplicated and nothing I have to *think* about.” This little 08 Chateau St. Jean Sonoma seemed the perfect fit. As soon as I saw the color of the liquid pouring from the neck I knew I had mis-judged. Remember, 2008 was a “horrible” vintage in Sonoma which WS gave an overall score of 86 to. And this is a 20 dollar bottle of wine from that vintage. If you are a rotisserie geek–following the numbers–it should be absolute crap, either drinking as good as it will ever get or even fruit faded below structure. But no. This thing is firing HARD on all cylinders and has years to go.
I picked up a 6-pack of these a while back on close-out for less than half SRP and this is bottle #5. I am so glad I have the remaining 4 and seriously will need to not touch another until at least it’s 10th birthday. Concentrated and hard, not even subtle fruit wrapped hard in a velvet fist, it acutally drinks quite nicely right now, but I can see areas of awkwardness which need to polish. It is NOT drinking to full potential. And there’s three kinds of wines you want to age: Wines which are drinking terribly (usually flawed) and NEED time to settle down; Wines which are not intended to drink young and don’t show well (think: Bordeaux); And wines which drink reasonably well but have so much potential–the concentration and balance is there and you can *see* the potential. This wine–however cheap and unsophisticated its pedigree is–lands firmly in the latter. And I mean FIRMLY.
In the mouth, the dense concentrated blackness continues–you actually need to masticate this wine–dark dense licorice-tar-ridden black cherry. It is not bright and fresh, it is brooding and gothic, acidic–warm citrus flesh and rubber bands, before dissolving into a brick wall of tannin. I’m really looking forward to bottles 4, 3, 2, and 1. Stay tuned for… I dunno… a decade?
2008 CHATEAU ST. JEAN Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma 14.2