Does “prevail” refer to a wine that is built to age? It’s an appropriate moniker for this wine, which shows no sign of fading 10 years after its vintage date. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley grapes must have been a beast when young because it is still showing beast-like qualities. If you like big and robust it’s drinking well right now; I wish I had waited two to three more years with a hope for more complexity.
The nose shows a nice mix of intense blackberry and dark cherry underscored by fresh fig. Oak is still prominent although it’s lost any raw aromas it might have had when young. Cigar box is beginning to emerge but the nose is still bright and fresh. In the mouth it’s sumptuous and juicy upfront with dark fruit and chocolate settling into a lush, velvet midpalate that lulls you into a comfortable space until alerted by a slowly-building tannic explosion.
The finish is drying and firm turning chalky with tannins that are fine-grained but persistent and conspicuous. There is no kinetic gathering of acidity midpalate; the mouthfeel is linear until the tannins drive a sense of expansion. Unfortunately, the long, lingering finish has too much charred wood on the back end. Very bitter and dark back there, for intrepid explorers only.
The fruit, oak and tannins are so prominent that the wine lacks finesse. But it wasn’t designed for finesse. It’s structured and unforgiving enough to have majesty, its polish evident until the finish reminds you its all about power.
Ferrari-Carano is a large, quality Sonoma producer of about 200,000 cases per year that nevertheless makes several intriguing smaller-lot cuvees. This one spent 28—35 days on the skins and was aged in 80% new French oak for 20 months. If you own a bottle and it was stored properly, it has several more years of life.
Price: $90 on release
Opened: January 2017
Loud and majestic, its sumptuous melody belied by a relentless, impassive rhythm, with Zeppelin’s Kashmir this wine meets its match.