You may or may not be aware, but CA has more wine than it can sell; at least at the prices people originally wanted to sell it for. So a lot of companies that bought expensive vineyards with plans to make $50 a bottle or $100 a bottle Cabernets are stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand they could just keep their prices the same and sell no wine; or they can cut their prices, sell their wine at a lower profit, but dilute their brand and make it impossible to get back to the $100 per bottle they were aiming for originally if the market ever turns around. Neither look so good right now, so some producers are charting a third way. They're selling off the wine they're making to other companies or winemakers, under the condition of anonymity, to be bottled under a different label. That way they get some cash now for their wine, without hurting their brand so that they can still look forward to being able to get big bucks for their wine again when the economy re-bounds.
That brings me to this wine I just picked up: Rock Face. It's a 2007 North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon. The Juice comes from three different vineyard sites in Napa and Sonoma and was blended into Rock.Face. The breakdown is 86% Cabernet, 8% Merlot, 5% Cab Franc, and 1% Petite Verdot. It's not quite a $50 wine masquerading for 16, but is really excellently balanced.
Aroma: currants, ripe cherries, violets, and a hint of licorice candy. This wine has a pretty big powerful aroma. It's dense, seductive, and dark with just the barest hint of vanilla.
Palate: The wine has a lot of cherry up front, but then a bigger meaty finish. The texture is very smooth; the tannins are just right, you don’t really notice them, but they tie the wine together. The mid-palate has some nice dense Blackcherry too. This is a ripe, fruit driven wine; slightly chewy, not rough, not gamey, lush, polished, and supple.
This is $16.99 at Dipietro's in SoPo and the Rosemont on Brighton Ave and is (I think) a bargain. The wine has a finesse and balance that this price level usually lacks. I love this wine because it is classic Cab and very ripe, without being heavy handed at all.