Thursday, November 6, 2014

In Which Philosophies Clash

This week I was "fortunate" enough to taste a wine that has been lavished with a remarkable 96 points from the Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: Caymus Vineyards 2012 40th Anniversary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Among'st other praises, the Advocate review included this enticing sentence, "Its dense purple/black color is followed by copious quantities of crème de cassis and blackberry fruit, silky tannins, a voluptuous texture and stunning purity as well as length." Accompanied by the claim that the wine will cellar well for 20 - 25 years.

I'm inclined to think that 20 - 25 years may be an overestimate on how long the wine is able to age since, by initial first taste, it's already atrocious. In the glass the color is pure, impossible, Platonic purple. The nose is of roasted and splintered barrel covered in melted Tootsie Roll and mint syrup. The fruit, much like the color, can best be described as purple. On the palate it is something of a harsh, burnt, mocha soup mixed with (the most complimentary thing I heard about it) Dimetapp. With a quality to cost ratio kept in mind, quite possibly the worst wine I've had all year.

All of this for a respectable $45 - $65 per bottle, depending where you are shopping. If you can find it for $48, then it comes out to a respectable two quality points per dollar spent.

My disgust with the cost and quality of this wine is equally as enthusiastic as the praise on the other side. So then one must wonder what would make me the arbiter of good taste or why is my opinion any more valid than the contrary? On its own, without dissent, it is a solitary choice leaving no other options to indicate its own positive or negative qualities. But with two contrasting opinions of enthusiastic wine drinkers a reader or drinker is given two diverging roads to take in the exploration of wine.

If, for example, you find the cost appropriate and agree with the virtues of mocha, creme de cassis, and a long vanilla finish on this 96 point wine, then by all means continue to follow the guidance laid forth by Robert Parker who wrote the review for the above wine. 

Although if you are in the other camp that finds this dreck to be an undrinkable, overpriced, alcoholic sludge inspired by real wine, then perhaps other guidance should be sought out. 

The important thing is to discover what you value in wine and find a way to express that to your merchant or sommelier to find ever more exciting and delicious wines. 

1 comment: