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lancaster estateGiven the reputation of the winery I had high hopes for this wine that I had cellared for many years. It should be at its peak. But it is one of the more curious aspects of wines that they sometimes go through a closed, inexpressive period which can last several years. When I poured the first glass, this wine was tighter than skinny jeans. Really nothing on the nose, some generic flavors on the palate. I put the cork back in hoping it would taste better tomorrow, maybe with some decanting to help it along. (I often don’t decant because I enjoy seeing how a wine develops in the glass; decanting tends to advance a wine too quickly.)

It is amazing what 24 hours and a little extra oxygen will do. This silent bore became a loquacious preacher overnight.

Characteristic Alexander Valley herbaceous aromas leaped from the glass providing contrast to the dominant cassis and coffee notes. Vanilla was nicely integrated into the background at this point exposing the developing earth tones. Chocolate flavors on the palate were cut by a midpalate seam of ostentatious graphite giving this wine a unique expression more reminiscent of Bordeaux than California. It doesn’t sit rich and luscious on the palate; the acidity and minerality draw the flavors up and give it a lifted, vibrant quality. No bombast or sappy sugar here; the savory qualities are striking. A serious, slightly ascetic but very satisfying wine.

There is no way to predict when a wine will be closed; even the same wines from the same vintage can react quite differently in the bottle.

84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Malbec, 2% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, unfiltered with 22 months in French oak.

I’m sorry to see the bottom of this one:

“Oh late bloomer the rumors were true
Scattered leaves are all that’s left of you”   from Canadian singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer “Late Bloomer”

Score: 92

Price: $67

Alc:  14.5%

Opened: 3/21/2015

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