Door Number 2

Dark staining ruby with an abrupt edge and almost imaginary bricking.  Piney nose masks earthy glycerine and understandably somewhat homogenous Napa Valley Cabernet viscosity and rich fruit.

I love second labels.  I have this ongoing study with myself as to whether 2nd labels are BETTER in “bad years” and WORSE in “good years”.  Or visa-versa, of course.  The argument of course being in BAD years, less of the juice available makes the cut for the flagship wine and gets made into the 2nd label.  The converse argument to this is the fairly uncomplicated theory of: in GOOD years there is so much great stuff to go around it all gets a chance at a bottle.  The reason I bring this up at this juncture is: I own two vintages of Cedar Knoll–11 and 10–and while I find the 2011 full of interesting things, the 10 continually disappoints.  Now, regular readers will point out I have praised the 2011 vintage in Napa and Sonoma over and OVER as being superior TO MY PALATE, but this feels different.  I still love most 10’s from the same producer, and this one just feels far outside the playing field.  I like this a LOT less than the 2011, is what I am trying to say.

In the mouth, thick and full, but meager of nuance and contrived-feeling.  Slight burn throughout.  Flabby and vapid, while still chewy.  Tannins are apparent only on the second day and they are a thin, wispy version.

This is a great deal on a Napa Cab from a top producer, one whose main label I choose not to afford.  Getting into this wine at the 40- or 50-dollar price point seems like a bargain and is definitely made in a style which will please a WIDE spectrum of Cabernet lovers.  I’m certainly not throwing it outa bed.

2010 CEDAR KNOLL VINEYARD Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 13.8

www.palmazvineyards.com

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