I was sorely disappointed in the 2011 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and what I thought would be one of the top wines of the vintage from barrel last year now shows a heavy handed, chunky oak profile, with overt wood, scorched earth, licorice and smoked black fruits on the nose. Medium to full-bodied, it still has good mid-palate concentration, as well as good purity to its fruit, but it’s currently overwhelmed by new oak, and I’m not convinced the fruit will win this battle. I’m hoping I caught these 2011s on an off day (nevertheless, I still rated them all outstanding, just a fair click below their barrel scores), but give them a year or two in the cellar, at which point it will be much more obvious if they’re integrating the oak and will improve, or if they’ll need consumed sooner rather than later. Rating: 91+
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