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levendiYoung Cabernet Sauvignon is like shredding guitars and wham bam thank you m’am–big, edgy, even angry. But with age it can settle into a deep, rich, gentle jazz groove. This Cabernet from hillside vineyards east of the Silverado Trail is in its soft jazz stage.

The wine needed air and time before showing its best. Animal fur aromas were prominent when I first opened it, but after an hour the cassis and fig emerged cocooned in dusty earth, mossy undertones and eventually plenty of brown sugar and forest floor characteristics. The oak is now well-integrated, a soft background note although some burnt toast appears on the back end. It’s not particularly complex but the aromas are lush and fragrant.

The palate too acquires richness with time as the seam of crushed rock and dried cherry softens and swells giving it a gentle, lifted quality from ample acidity that keeps the wine from seeming heavy. It loses some bass notes as it heads into the finish where the powdery tannins stay in the background but they show breadth with no grip and there is some quirky oscillation happening with the fruit. The finish has lost some length but flows with languid ease. It is still in its drinking window.

A mellow, earthy, contented wine that sings like Cassandra Wilson’s rich, inviting contralto.

Technical Notes: Aged in French oak.

Score: 91

Price: Recent vintages sell for around $100

Alc: 14.5%