James and the Giant Plum

Light orang-ish garnet, a most interesting color for this variety. I’ve seen Nebbiolo this color, and pinots with a little age this color, but I don’t think ever Cab-franc. Beautiful spicy nose, fruit of the most delicate nature, but lush and intricate–rich plum and hazelnut and flat cherry cola, intense with Sweet Tart around the edges, tingly and inviting and creating a fire-n-ice situation with the nutty fruit.

In the mouth, even more juxtapositions against what I kinda had started assuming from the color. That it would be oxidized, maybe? Or flat, lifeless and tired? It is NONE of these things. Barely even subtle on entry, it quickly gains momentum, thrusting all that ripe plum you found on the nose into your face. Cool-watery and sweet-bitter over the middle, it finishes juicy and WET–tannins blaring–but nary a pang of guilt.

What an astonishing wine. I literally have NEVER had anything like it. There is no way I could ever blind this. Grenache, maybe. 15-year-old extremely well-made Bordeaux satellite? Nothing else I can possibly think of. But it is luscious and gorgeous. Loyal readers will know I am kinda a purist about WHAT THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE DAMMIT, but I am giving this one a complete pass–with honors–because here it really works. There’s fruit, there’s concentration, there’s acid and there’s tannin–it is just all in a very interesting package. Second wine this week the 99 will love and the 1% can analyze for HOURS.

Bottom line: Yummy and gorgeous.

2016 ROALD WINE COMPANY Cabernet Franc Chalk Hill Sonoma County 15.4

roaldwine.com

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