THE GREAT OAK EXPERIMENTATION, DAY ONE: THREE OLDER VINTAGE WINES FROM THE CONSTELLATION BRANDS PORTFOLIO

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We’ve had these 3 samples mucking about the studio since last fall, and I thought since the reputation of Wild Horse and Franciscan as being colossal oakmongers, I would fire these up in a great oak-to-fruit experiment, trying them today, then again tomorrow, and then Saturday.  Much to my chagrin, 2 out of the three have seen their oakmongering diminished:

Wild Horse Chardonnay Unbridled Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley 2008.  Grade=Meh.  Green banana peel in color, this uber-woody wine displays obnoxious buttered popcorn, lemon custard, mustard green, Nilla® wafer and 2X4 notes, finishing up oaky, buttery and nuanced with roasted corn.

Wild Horse Pinot Noir Cheval Sauvage Santa Maria Valley 2007.  Grade=Very Good.  Immediate notes of RedHots®, pencil shavings, vanilla fudge and wet stones winding heedlessly into Maraschino cherry and Marie Callender’s® Razzleberry pie.

Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon Stylus Napa Valley 2005.  Grade=Very Good.  Drinks like Satan’s BBQ sauce, with exhibitions of resiny, raisiny black fruit, cedar chips, bitter dark chocolate and 10W40 in the nose, careening into a freefall of thick, sludgy dregs of blackberry compote, dried black currants, carmelized figs, charcoal briquettes and pine tar.  This should almost be called Chateau Beelzebub, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.  Surprisingly, a some of the oak has left town, leaving behind this dark, brooding soul of a red wine, with tobacco leaf and oak char mingling drunkenly amidst a black fruit Bar Mitzvah.  There is still a lot of pompous oak prevalent from beginning to end, so much it dries my palate and esophageal passage, but the Napa Cab drinkers would go apeshit over this one.

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