Hey, I wasn't expecting this wine to come up until Wednesday (that's what my the email that gave me the exciting news that I was a Lab Rat said!), but it just so happens that my wife and I finished it off tonight so here goes:
First off, gotta say that whoever came up with the Lab Rat concept is a very smart cookie. I've enjoyed reading them to help decide whether to buy, and was very stoked to finally get a "golden ticket" myself. My wife and I both enjoy drinking and learning about wine, and we're usually pretty close on our preferences and our evaluations, but not always.
The package was delivered at my office Friday morning and we figured we'd let it settle in for at least a day before we popped it open. Also, figured that we should probably evaluate it over a couple of days, by itself and with a couple of different foods. Honestly, my first thought when I saw the bottle was "Cool, something from the higher end Wild Horse Unbridled label", since we've had some experience with those, but then I realized that it was from Sonoma not Paso.
We opened it on Saturday evening and poured two glasses, one through a Vinturi and one not. Initial thoughts:
Me-nice color with purple through the center and a slight red tinge on the edges. A bit hot (alcohol bite) on the initial smell and the first sip but that is to be expected. Getting lots of dark fruit. Some green characteristics are also showing up however, but not necessarily the classic good green pepper you might get in a cab. The aerated glass I felt, had a deeper and wider nose to it, but overall still had a tightness to it.
Wife-really likes the way it smells, dark coffee, blackberry jam, slightly floral? She pointed out some astringency and a "tanginess" that she didn't like so much. She said she didn't catch much difference on the aerated glass, but she had more reaction than I did on the non-aerated one.
Then we poured a glass so we could revisit it as the night went on and it had a chance to open up, and corked the other half of the bottle to enjoy the second day to see how it changed. I thought the tannins softened up the longer it was breathing, she didn't taste much difference. I found myself wishing it had a little richer feeling to it, but overall I had a positive impression of the cab.
Day 2-poured another glass and let it warm back up. Wow. Different. Strange, but the richness I was looking for is now there. There is more spice and some chocolate as well. Even got a little bit of eucalyptus. My wife says the floral aspects she was getting yesterday are now more pronounced and clearly a rose smell. The green character is still there, and the tannins feel rather soft. Nice acidity, but not gonna be your high end classic cab. Has the vibe of a good everyday kind of wine, and at the price I see it is being offered for I don't think you'd be disappointed. Lots of flavor, full bodied and a good mouth feel. I think perhaps the slight astringency keeps it from the next level. Definitely not one-dimensional though, it is interesting.
We tried some with a lamb sandwich, and the meat was just too much for the tannins in the cab. But when we paired it with a simple pasta with tomatoes, garlic, onions, mushrooms and rosemary, it was more than man enough to hold it's own and shine.
Thanks again for the chance to be a rat, we'd love to do it again sometime!