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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Lion Tamer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

We all know that Hess has had that lion on their labels forever, and that's because it's been the family emblem forever. Expanding on that theme, they've started a line called The Lions Head, which is made up of the Panthera Chardonnay (my wine pick of the month), this Lion Tamer Cabernet, and a Lion Tamer Red Blend (which I'm not reviewing).

The 2017 Lion Tamer Cabernet Sauvigon is 81% Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petite Sirah, and 8% Malbec. It's actually called "Lion Tamer" because of that 8% Malbec. The grape has earned the nickname of "Lion Tamer" at Hess because of its ability to tame powerful tannin as a blender. Anyways, it was aged in 33% new French and American oak for 20 months, and it has a 14.6% ABV.

As Hess has found, Malbec has proven to work very well with California Cabernet when you add a splash or two... but Petite Sirah? I loooooove Petite Sirah but generally those Cabs with PS aren't all that varietally correct and just crowd pleasing fruit bombs taking advantage of the Cabernet Sauvignon name (same as when it's added to Pinot Noir). This one? Yeah, the PS is clearly there but I'm not even mad. This is outstanding.

The color of the wine is garnet. And, man, do I love the nose? Yes I do! There's aromas of blackberries, black cherries, violets, ground coffee, graphite, and peppermint. On the palate it's full bodied with a lush and rich mouthfeel, tight chalky tannins, and am acidity that's mouthwatering but doesn't tart things up. There's flavors of blackberries, blueberries, plums, chocolate, and brown herbs. Then it finishes with those strong chalky tannins and flavors of blackberries and chocolate.

So good. Big and bold but still well rounded, and just plain delicious as hell. It's not cheap ($60) but it's absolutely worth the money. I'm not sure if I can say much more.

Price: $60
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.
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