Beautiful dark ruby with clear edges. BIG funk straight outa the bottle, gym socks and lush wet barnyard barely breathing off over several hours in decanter, slowly revealing a core of wonderful mint, eucalyptus and earth tightly wrapped around a core of dark cherry fruit. Nutty and full, but never cloying, no extravagant over-ripe fruit overwhelming anything, just pure structural dedication to a classic interpretation of Cabernet from an esteemed Napa Valley appellation.
I am having SO MUCH FUN with the 2011’s. And rightly so, I mean–it makes sense: The doom and gloom many pundits proclaim about the 2011 Napa vintage only plays into positive points for those of us who desire beautiful, clean, classic, structured Cabernets. “It’s green and under-ripe.” “A horrible, difficult, wet vintage.” “Green and under-fruited.” “Not showing compelling ripeness or depth.” blah blah blah 86 points whatever, I think this is a perfect vintage. I don’t care if the mainstream palate has adapted to lush fruit-bombs and perfectly-ripe 15-oh offerings, THIS is what I WANT in Napa cab. 2011 is PERFECT. If you like Bordeaux or old-school Napa, 2011 is your baby. Don’t let the naggering nabobs of negativity tell you Twinkies and Pop-Tarts are what you are to like. Eschew the obliterating ripeness and over-done fruit of 2010, 12, and the new darling-child: 2013. Sure, they might fit perfectly into the ‘range’ of marketable #drinkthemyoung bling-bottles trotted out on social media for the concentration-bros to clap about. What we have here in 2011 is nothing more than pure old-fashioned Napa, nuanced and wonderful, briary, spicy and “thin”. Well, I’ll take “thin” in this case.
In the mouth, instantly full and pleasing, fruit obvious and at-the-ready–dark cherry concentrate whipped with incredible wet soil, conifer-bark, needles and bitter briar morphing perfectly to brash tannin. This bottle is so old-school Napa Rutherford/Oakville it HURTS. The sweet barnyard funk never goes away, it only adds depth and desire to hesitant–but omnipresent–fruit. It is becoming easy to understand why I like these 2011’s so much more than the VINTAGES OF THE DECADE surrounding it: It is because the 2011’s taste more like real wine to this reviewer than the candy sooo many expect from major producers today. It is marketing bullshit aimed at undiscriminating palates without cellars. Sweetness and concentration rules all these days, and in this particular bottle, the sweetness is there, just not in your face. Try this if you still like real wines from Napa.
2011 GROTH Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa Valley 14.5