CS Substance Cabernet

Winery: Charles Smith Wines

Vintage: 2015

Wine Name/Vineyard: Substance

Wine Category: Cabernet Sauvignon

Grape blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottle size: 750 ml

Region: Columbia Valley

State or country: Washington

Price: $17

ABV: 14.5%

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. Buy here.

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.


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