I received this sample in November, 2017, as part of a large, unsolicited shipment of California Cabernets made by consulting enologist Jean Hoefliger. The occasion prompted me to pen a short essay about the perplexities of evaluating youthful wines that are meant to be aged, Young Red Wine, Wise Red Wine.
Should I open the wine, or age the wine?
In the end I decided to cellar the bottles, likely to the consternation of the entity that shipped them to me expecting a prompt review. But I hate to waste food, and I knew this food needed time.
This 2013 AXR Cab was one of the more modest of the collection, a Napa Valley appellated wine versus a vineyard designate, and priced at $80 on release.
Now, nine years after harvest, the wine is just beginning to show a patina of age. Its rim is still clear, but its cherry robe has earned a lightly orange hue. The perfume is woodsy and leafy, wreathed in juniper, pine, and cedar, and the fruit reads like black cherries steeped in tea. The palate is smooth and silky-supple, the tannins velvety and not particularly drying. Red cherry fruit blooms again at the finish as a parting surprise.
The moral of the story? Age the wine.
2013 AXR Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
14.2% ABV | $80 on release (sample)