An Entry-Level Wine You Can’t Enter

Impenetrable ruby with somewhat staining day-glo purple edges.  Minuscule initial funk and an obvious closed-in-ed-ness meriting a heavy decant.  Tasted frequently over the past three hours.  Big tar and mushroom bouquet glows with heavy fruit, understated oak, and–in place of it–a stunning match-head and petrichor.  Woodsy and subliminally fruit-FWD with a touch of port and an alcohol note shape-shifting in and out of briar.  And then you taste it.

A full, round entry gives pause for a nano-second, then searing astringency hits hard and fast, leaving you groping desperately for fruit.  Is there any?  This question pops up over and over over the course of this wine.  Like a barrel-sample at a futures presentation, you have to decide.  QUICK:  IS THERE FRUIT?  Here’s the deal with this wine:  My IG feed is FULL of bottle-shots of this thing being popped all over creation.  And I am judging all of those people right now.  They are all getting a little asterisk which they will carry the rest of their life.  I would bet a good 90% didn’t even decant.

This wine is undrinkable.  It is purposeful and focused in bouquet but so many years from approach-ability in the mouth I am shocked a) the winery even released it, and b) people actually guzzle it.  I would love to taste this thing in 15 years but it is not consumable right now.  Period.  Nothing past the nose is enjoyable. There is absolutely NO WAY you can drink this wine and rationalize any sort of enjoy-ability into it at this juncture.  This isn’t one of those wines where you go, “Hey this is a really great wine with some amazing structure which will blossom into something really great in 10 years.”  No, this is a wine which is completely un-consumable right now and so much so, even predicting something great becoming of it is a crap-shoot.  I’ve had Cornas young and I’ve had real PetiteSirah young and I’ve had Monastrell and Madiran young but this thing just takes the cake.  After 4 hours, it is Flab, Tannin, and Alcohol.  I can smell the fruit.  But I can’t taste the fruit.  There’s some of it in there.  There’s just no way there is enough of it in there to survive this tannin.

2012 ROBERT CRAIG Affinity Napa Valley California 14.5


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