Cimarone is a new producer in the recently created Happy Canyon AVA located in the eastern end of the Santa Ynez Valley. The Cimarone 2007 3CV Bank is their entry-level wine made with estate fruit from Three Creek Vineyard. Based on the blend of 47% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah, 4% Merlot, 3% Malbec, and 3% Petit Verdot, this wine looks like it consists primarily of the fruit that didn't maker the cut in their luxury cuvée, Le Clos Secret. Regardless, I like to try the lower level wines to get a sense of a winery's style, and this wine also provided a good chance to re-visit something I tried previously.
The bouquet reflects the contributions of both Cabernets with cedar, dried herbs and currants front and center. Barrel aromas of toast and caramel, fortunately, are secondary and not too distracting. Tasted blind, I might well have pegged this as a Chilean Carmenere based on the nose. The flavors are typical of an oak aged Bordeaux blend with dark fruit and moderate weight on the mid-palate. Unfortunately, the finish is poor. It's harsh, somewhat medicinal and a little hot. While the wine is not overly tannic, I can't help but think it's over-extracted because of the bitter, herbal flavors that linger.
I really liked this wine when I tasted it a few months ago. I think this confirms what I've always thought: a small taste is very different than a full glass or two. A taster can only pick up several aromas at once, thus more than a few sniffs are required to unlock all of a wine's aromas. Moreover, the harshness of a highly extracted wine usually becomes more pronounced with more sips. Upon further review, this just isn't more than an average wine despite the lovely earthy aromatics. Many $15 to $20 Chilean wines offer similar qualities, but simply taste better.
Pros: Earthy Aromas, Dark Fruit, Moderate Tannins
Cons: Harsh Finish, Some Obvious Oak, Over-extracted (?)
Decant: Yes, mainly to avoid sediment
Price: $22 from Tastes of the Valleys
QPR: Poor/Mediocre (out of Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good or Excellent with Fair denoting expectations were met for the price point)