Monday, May 02, 2011

Rating: *** 2004 Chez Ray (Wine Kit) Woodbridge Ranch 11 Cabernet Sauvignon - Central Valley, CA

Original Review May, 2007: This is wine made from a bag of grape juice! It is called the Selection Estate Woodbridge Ranch 11 Cabernet Sauvignon. I made it more or less following Winexpert instructions.

I did not use the bentonite for clearing and I made it to about 5.5 gallons rather than 6 gallons. The major change I made was to add a bunch of skins from my own Lodi and Napa fermentation to potentially give this a bit more aromatic and tannin "punch". We'll see what came of all this...

Color is an even deep red. While swirling, grape juice aromas jump out of the glass. On closer examination, aroma is a mild liquor-like cherry, maybe like smelling the inside of a chocolate-covered cherry, but without the chocolate. The favor fills the mouth with a round, smooth touch, no complexity, no aromas, but big and round in the middle. Just a touch of cherry around the edges. And a finish that flits past you before you even notice.

In total, this is like some kind of mixture of wine, grape juice and new port. Not quite wine; but not quite a liquor either. Not something to write home about; but not a total abomination. For ratings, I'm stuck between two-plus and three-minus. I guess I'd open another bottle, so that's three-minus. (But, to give full disclosure, part of the reason I'd so readily open to another bottle is probably that I've got a couple dozen of them from the five-gallon batch!)

For comparison, here's what the manufacturer says about this bag 'o juice:"Our Cab has trademark black currant and cherry flavors, but its true triumph is the subtle weave of complex flavor compounds that contribute to the overall experience. Oak and tannins, pepper and spice, combining structure and rich fruit for a red wine that dazzle from first aroma to long elegant finish."

Well, that sounds a bit "je ne sais quoi" to me!

Updated Review, October, 2008: Still a nice mid-palate, round and cherry. Not enough before or after, though.

Updated again, December, 2009:

In the glass: Deep blood red and purple, opaque from within about a quarter inch of the glass edge.

On the nose: Poured without a decant and swirled vigorously, still has that cherry cordial element.

On the palate: Think now more like a cherry caramel, sweetness lifts up and to the top of your palate, with light acids descending.

And the finish: Seems a bit longer than I noted before, with light caramel drifting away.

In summary: Not so bad an experience overall. I'd go with three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale. It has actually held up pretty well to the four years in bottle.

Updated Review, another year and a half later, May, 2011:  More blood red than purple at the edge of the glass now.  Cherry cordial on the nose with some broccoli creeping in.  Still full and red caramel, but with a definite "over-the-hill" vegetative element creeping in. Better get to the rest of these soon.

1 comment:

  1. Just to go on the record about my blends so far. I thought the M/in was excellent. **** And was a great success at a Memorial Day party. The Z/ab was less successful, maybe ***. Good body, but slightly bitter aftertaste, reminds me of some, well....never mind!