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92 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION
WINEREVIEWONLINE.COM Toasty, chocolatey and structured, this wine is worthy of some unwinding time. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition. 92 Rich Cook July 6, 2021
The last offering from this stunning, high-elevation, Spring Mountain estate, N.68 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic example of the "mountain" breed. Dense and savory with elegantly delineated fruit, it reflects the extreme growing conditions of high-altitude vineyards. Here ultraviolet exposure combines with lean soils to produce wines (and especially Cabernet's) with bold structures and intense flavors.
Of course, N.68 Cabernet is a terrific example, an achetype for the category. After purchasing the first three wines, our team was given carte blanche access and assembled the blend from components we were provided. Since the blend is our own, its hard to directly compare prices but, I think its fair to say, you would pay anywhere from $75-$95/bottle for the components here so lets call it $80 juice for $25. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, if you are looking for overtly rich and early expressive, this isn't your Cabernet. Deep, dark and delicious it is (and relatively approachable for a mountain Cab); nevertheless, the best of this wine is a couple years out.
Dark and brooding in the glass it starts very earthy and graphitic with lots of deep plum, chaparral, herb and licorice notes flashing with black cherry, sage and leather. Powdery purple florals, crushed volcanic rock and dark earth are constant once it opens up. Smooth and surprisingly lush and full on the palate, its focused and concentrated with chewy tannin and bright, lingering black cherry on the finish. This will be dynamite once it coalesces.
UPDATED JUNE 27, 2021
Just cracking open but still tightly wrapped in high-altitude, mountain tannins. Soy, toffee, warm wax oak aromas dominate the dark cherry fruit…brooding, earthy mountain cab with graphite, chaparral herbs/anise/sage, dried black cherry, leather - smooth and lush full palate, focused and concentrated with chewy tannin and bright lingering black cherry on the finish. Day Two: Mountain chaparral begins to escape the abyss as the aromatic complexity emerges. Good fruit impression on the palate but it is tightly wound with bourbon oak and tannins. Look to the Fall.
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Phoenix Wine Company, LLC,
PO Box 472334
San Francisco, CA 94147.
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