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I am cooking a very complex and spice-laden dish for dinner- so no wimpy, thin wines tonight.  This Cabernet has been aged in Whiskey barrels and comes from Cali, so I am looking forward to some hearty and bold flavors to complement my Lamb Tagine which is loaded up with Ras-el-Hanout spice mix, honey, preserved lemons, dried apricots, peas and the ever present onions and garlic.  Side dish is pearled couscous mixed with peppers, garbanzos and red onion- drizzled with a lime/olive oil and honey dressing.

So- the wine itself is inky purple, as in opaque AF.  The nose is gorgeous.  Pronounced aromas of blackberry, black plum, caramel, smoke, vanilla- loads of oak influence there.  The palate is very smooth with what seems to be a touch of sweetness.  I doubt there is residual sugar, must be ripe fruit and perhaps the whiskey barrel influence?  Anyways I get delicious flavors of black berries and currants, plum, smoke, vanilla and the caramel.  The wine has beautifully integrated tannins that caress my gums from the beginning to the end.  Juicy acidity hits on the finish where I now sense the powerful 16.1% ABV.  Be careful out there, that’s quite high.  This full bodied wine is a treat that is going to pair beautifully with my exotic dinner.  I would drink this till 2026, it has some cellaring capacity but don’t let it get too long-it is drinking well now.  91 points for this $ 25 bottle makes it a 5 star effort.  Salut…..