Black impenetrable ruby with a minuscule red edge. A toxic nose of the headiest nature blasts at you, insulting and obfuscating all good things about Cabernet AND red wine in general. Sweaty soccer-mom–drenched in perfume–burnt Starbucks coffee in hand with every candy-jelly-chocolate-vanilla-whipped cream-sugar option on the board thrown into it. Alcohol burns the back of your eyes, while powdered oak raises blood in your sinuses, and cautionary tales about diabetes fill your mind. Naugahyde and burnt hair tag-team in the blazing Paso sun, creating a dessert-filled pond-water sundae ridiculously ripe and oppressive in its complete lack of redeeming Cabernet qualities and dedication to pure sugar, obesity, and the tourist palate.
Decanted heavily. Bad move. It’s getting worse. With air, it becomes even more Walmart-y, and any designs you might have had on spice, earth, or texture eventually showing up are dashed into a Hawaiian Punch swirl easy to find on the bottom two shelves of the supermarket ‘Red Blend’ section. But I must taste it.
In the mouth, a bit less oppressing than I expected–and this is a GOOD thing. The fruit present is the cheapest, thinnest, wateriest assuredly contrived concoction imaginable–absolutely no nuance of quality–just straight sugar-water and a few drops of cassis. Some tannin–harsh and awkward–manages to take a few stumbling steps before everything becomes oak. And I mean EVERYTHING. It comes crashing in on vanilla wings, accelerates to full-blown French shavings, before settling down to granular obliteration of EVERYTHING, to carry the finish off into a pancake-syrup sunset.
This wine sets Paso Robles Cabernet back a decade and makes me so sad. I’ll bet it sells like hotcakes.
2015 AUSTIN HOPE Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 15.0