Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008 | Napa Valley, California, USA
On first whiff the nose expresses enticing black and red berry fruits — both fresh and mature, but then as it sits in the glass it's chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. In the mouth it is similarly dominated by a milk chocolate flavor mixed with blackberry and sweet black raspberry. It has a pleasant finish of more chocolate, vanilla, sweet red berry, black cherry, and boysenberry flavors that linger. There is ample, mouth-puckering acidity and mild tannins. Texture is smooth, with good weight, feeling almost syrupy.
I'm not sure what to make of this wine. It's clearly complex with enough acidity to match with food, but when I drank it with a juicy ribeye, all I got from the wine was chocolate. Sometimes I like the taste of chocolate, but not when I'm eating steak, so perhaps it should be more of an after-dinner wine with a cheese plate. Though the acidity was ample, the tannins were surprisingly mild. Despite all the ripe fruit upfront, there was no heat on the finish, which was nice.
Also surprising was the sediment; generally I don't expect that from a 4-year-old wine. Sediment doesn't bother me and I don't consider it a flaw, but I do find it curious.
My thought is this wine was going through a “dumb phase” when I poured it — a time in its evolution when it wasn't integrated, and showing less than its full potential. I say this because there is clearly a ton of fruit, complexity, and attractive aromas and flavors, but for whatever reason it isn't hitting on all cylinders. If you have a bottle of this vintage, keep it in the cellar for at least another 6 months to a year before giving it a try. How long can it age? Hard to say, as the acidity will hold it together, but the lack of tannin — which with acid is also a preservative — suggests that this isn't a wine for decade-holding. On the other hand, maybe I don't understand what this wine is — which is possible (probable?) as I consider myself a novice when it comes to California wine.
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Disclosure: I received this wine as a press sample
This wine was also reviewed by Drinkhacker, Bigger Than Your Head (2009 vintage), Pull that Cork, and The Wine Cask Blog, among others (if you've seen another review or written one yourself, let us know in the comments).