I almost never drink young cabernet wines. In general I find them to be too oaky or too tannic to be enjoyable without at least 12-15 years of bottle age. However, this weekend I found myself in Red Lodge, MT at a steakhouse with a wine list comprised of lots of young cabernet. Spottswoode has been one of my favorite (and one of the few I buy each year) since I tried the ’05 vintage. I found a 2013 on the list that was priced essentially at retail, so I decided to try it. I must say I am glad I did as the wine was stellar. The nose was classic Spottswoode with cassis, black raspberry, and ripe blueberry fruit, underlying were hints of mocha, fresh floral notes, a hint of vanilla and baking spice, licorice, and dusty earth. The tannins were silky and balanced by lovely acidity and the all the above mentioned flavors and fruit. It was excellent with a ribeye now and I can honestly say that to have a bottle now is well worth it if you have some. While I do think this will be peaking in 15-30 years and I will hold the bottles I have, it was a good reminder that not all cabernet needs long bottle age to be very good and extremely pleasurable. I suppose that is why we try things out of the norm every now and then… to prevent the dreaded rut. So happily, I can say my eyes are reopened to young cabernet. That is not to say I endorse drinking lots of cabernet young as many of them have too much tannin or too much oak in play, but a quality producer who makes balanced wines such as Spottswoode clearly makes wines that are enjoyable both young and old. Given my penchant for Burgundy, I don’t buy a lot of Napa cabernet any more, but Spottswoode will always remain on my buy list.
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I have enjoyed Spottswoode for several years. This is a reminder to buy a few bottles every year. Thanks for your notes. I sometimes get those pencil shavings aromas with this wine.