Winery: Charles Smith Wines
Wine Name/Vineyard: Substance
Wine Category: Cabernet Sauvignon
Grape blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Bottle size: 750 ml
Region: Columbia Valley
State or country: Washington
Cases produced: N/A
The Barrel Cellar Score: 88 points
Review date: Feb 10, 2019
Color: Up Maroon (it’s a real color), Redwood rim
Nose: Cherry, floral notes, oak
Taste: Bing cherry, bitter melon, oak
Assessment: This fruit forward release gets the important things right. It has great balance of tannins and acidity, a silky-smooth full body, and it tastes good. It gets the important things right (taste and balance) and doesn’t bother with the rest; it is simple and its enjoyable. The character aspect I find most interesting in this release is the presence of bitter melon on the palate. Bitter melon is a green fruit used in savory Asian cuisine, not an un-ripened Cantaloupe (or melon of your choice). This shouldn’t be interpreted as the wine having an overly tart or even bitter flavor, but the essence of bitter melon is there.
I made a trip to the Columbia Valley with some friends a couple of years ago and visited Charles Smith’s tasting room on recommendation. Upon sampling this Cabernet and realizing the value (at $17 a bottle) I bought a case. Considering the additional discounts offered for buying cases by most tasting rooms and retailers I recommend buying this in bulk. The 2015 release ready to drink now but could handle a few more years as well.
2015 CS Substance Cabernet is a very good wine and a very good value. 88 points
Pairing recommendation: Pair with a nice ribeye or dark chocolate.