Velvet Mountain

Dark ruby, staining brown. THE most ostentatious burnt-caramel/milk chocolate/oak tincture/candied-out Maraschino you have ever experienced. Absolutely SLATHERED in flabby decadence far beyond the age or what I have pleasantly remembered from past experience with this label.

I’m actually kinda dreading tasting it. I’m an old-skool Howell Mountain baby and this has been a pet winery of mine for decades–although I don’t drink it often. Their zinfandels from the late 80’s were fantastic, and the cab I have enjoyed numerous times since. Never experienced it quite like this.

In the mouth, a mélange of fat concocted Napa Valley heroin hitting all the buttons of tourist expectations and Prisoner-drinker et al. I can feel this wine almost instantly on my brain, as the pure Premium proof and perfect manipulation invade my pores. I’m going to guess 14-5, which isn’t terrible, but I think what they will put on the label. It’s just SO luscious, so huge and sweet and dessert-y–I keep smelling it over and over trying to decide if it is an erstwhile gem or an obese piece of shit. Back to the taste, which rationalizes the bouquet considerably. Grainy, chalky mint and considerable acid play all the sumptuous vanilla, cassis and black cherry reduction along into mild tannins tinted with sugar and tobacco. Long pie-crusty finish with a dense dark note complicating things.

I want to like this wine really really bad, but I can’t figure out what it is trying to be. Pencil-box goes up against s’mores and sandpaper rubs against boozy syrup. Just really torn. On one hand I’m telling myself it is mountain-structured and concentrated–but the other half is calling it a fat supermarket sell-out. I’ve learned to listen to the other half. It’s always right.

2008 BURGESS CELLARS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14.5


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