It’s Going To Be A White Christmas

Clear dark ruby with maroon edges.  Massive vegetal spice, mint, eucalyptus, bell pepper rise up furiously from the glass for several hours, only slightly easing off their edge after some time in decanter, turning slightly darker toward the spicier side of things.  Heady creamy vanilla frosting fruit hang in great layers over the tapenade, sweet mud, root beer and thick black cherry fruit.

This wine takes me back so many years.  Back to a time when Napa Valley cabs were not fatty fruit flabs for everyone to gush over but were serious items of conversation–lean and layered and complex–not full-glass fodder for the bottle-poppin crowd and their $250 bottles of 2 year old wines.  Serious wines.  I love finding wineries like this.  They ARE still out there.  Tiny–in this case: holes in the mountain–family-run operations producing limited amounts of wine everybody is not going to like, honestly.  The *If I want lean & mean I’ll drink Bordeaux* crowd needs to stay away from this one, as do the 15-9 allocated 26° 4.0 45-day 36-month jam-stew people.  And this is a 2011, so you are already running the risk of Vintage-Dork proclaiming it “green, watered-down and under-ripe” before they even thrust it into their mouths without smelling it.  This wine will appeal to neither of those crowds, but rather a sophisticated, classic connoisseur of all things balance, texture and complexity.

In the mouth, earth and spice still run the gamut here, punctuated with a Half Dome of rich, ripe fruit and tagged-teamed all along with green, opaque tannins which never crescendo, but rather come on strong initially and maintain far into the finish.  This is a stunning bottle of wine, a recent discovery for me and a very welcome one.  I am going back and buying all I can afford of this label and so should you–if you’re smart.  Off the beaten path and under the radar–for NOW–this is a wine I can not keep my nose out of or my mouth off.

2011 WHITE ROCK VINEYARDS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley  14.7

http://www.whiterockvineyards.com

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