With its ruby color this wine opens up with bursts of ripe black cherry. Balanced spices invite more anticipation in the wine. Fig compote, black fruits and unsweetened chocolate round out the mouth. Lingering soft finish of sweet oak and smoke from the toasted barrels finish out this wine with good balance and structure. Drink now or enjoy for ten years or more.
Blend: 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petite Verdot
Vineyard/Grapes: St. Helena, Oakville, Coombsville
While traveling to Northern California in the mid-eighteen hundreds with his entire life savings, John Weinberger’s stagecoach was attacked by robbers. Passengers were told to “shell out”. Weinberger, without hesitation, shot the robbers with his Colt Navy he had hidden under his seat. John, a visionary, then became one of the first pioneers in Napa Valley winemaking when he built the first stone winery in St. Helena in 1873.
Smoking Gun represents the bygone days of Napa Valley where, with perseverance, dreams can come true. Cole Ballentine, fifth generation Italian/Irish Napa Valley native, embodies the future in trailblazing Cabernet Sauvignon that remains true to its place.
AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, IL, LA, MA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, WA, WI, WY
FedEx Ground: Monday, August 6th - Thursday, August 9th
I was so excited when I received the email saying that I was going to get the chance to review a Napa Cab! When I arrived home with the box the suspense was nearly killing me as I cut the tape to see what beauty I had received. It was a 2014 Smoking Gun, a name I hadn’t ever heard of, but on the back of the bottle it listed William Cole as the producer and I had heard great things about them but never had the opportunity to try their wines. It killed me to set the bottle aside for 24 hours, but I wanted to give it a chance to recover from the overnight trip from CA to WA.
The next evening we had a few friends over for the tasting. This group was a good mix of wine lovers and wine neophytes. This is much younger Cab then I usually drink so I planned to taste before dinner, during dinner, at 12 hours, and at 48 hours to attempt to predict how this wine will age. Around an hour before dinner we opened the bottle and immediately poured tastings for the group. Wine temp was about 70 degrees, cork was lightly stained, with thin absorption, and you could still see the Smoking Gun logo through the staining.
My notes: At first whiff detected bright cherries, another scent maybe slightly floral, and very slight vanilla/oak. Color is medium to light ruby with long thin legs. On taste the bright cherries continue with a little oak/vanilla and maybe a little chocolate towards the end. Medium acidity, well rounded tannins, and a long cherry finish. This wine is very well balanced.
Group feedback: Wine lovers agreed with my notes, newbies said “Smells good, like cranberries” “Really good and I don’t usually like red wine. More fruit then other reds, almost tastes sweet.” “Little dry, but not too much, not hot, really liked it. Easy to drink without food, easier than other reds”
Recorked for 45 mins while dinner was being cooked. Dinner was wood grilled ribeye and roasted creamer potatoes with truffle oil, rosemary, and seasalt. Due to the balance (this is not a fruit bomb) I was a little worried that the wine wouldn’t hold up to the steak, but I shouldn’t have been.
Reopened and poured for dinner. Reserved one glass for the 12 and 48 hours tastings. Just recorked bottled, didn’t add preserver.
Group Feedback with dinner: everyone felt that the wine was great with the food. The steak brought out some smokiness in the finish and the wine wasn’t overwhelmed at all. Acidity was just right to cleanse palate. There were more compliments from the wine newbies and they thought it was even better with the steak.
13 hours later:
I should have decanted the portion I poured for dinner. Fruit has now become secondary to an earthy scent. Leather and pepper on the pallet with dark bing cherries following them. Wine is still very balanced with good acidity and some tannin still left. Now can detect a bit of a mineral buzz during the finish with long dark cherry finish. Excellent.
48 hours from first opening:
Earthy notes mostly gone. Some fruit, lots of pepper, acidity more pronounced but still balanced. SWMBO says she still really likes it (she loves peppery wines) and approves my purchase of a case!
In summary, expertly balanced wine that really shows off the Cab. The addition of the Petite Verdot was probably what gave the slight floral scent at first opening. I believe this wine will age well and while you can drink now I think it will improve if you are like me and value the non fruit scents and flavors. Price point on this is excellent for a Napa Cab and this is an opportunity to acquire wine from a pretty well known source that is usually hard to come by. Thanks to casemates for this opportunity!!!
After being held hostage in my house for the better part of the day the FedEx guy finally arrived with the package. THE package. Ok, ok, I work out of my house so I wasn’t going anywhere anyway and let’s face it, it’s pretty cool to anticipate the arrival of a lab rat bottle. I was told it was a high end cab and sure enough, that is what I got. Jackpot! Luckily, it was a Friday so I put the bottle in the wine fridge to give it a rest from its journey. Fast forward to Monday. Unfortunately, none of my Casemate friends could join me to sample the bottle so like a trooper my best friend stepped in ready to help me when I needed it most. Some of you lab rats open your bottle and let it sit first but that’s not my style. I want that first sip the moment it is opened. I want to experience the changes it goes through as it breathes.
Although I do like a wide variety of wines, red wines will always have my heart. Full bodied, complex but subtle, a finish that whispers – not screams - “I’m still here…” and calls you back for another sip. Dare I say a sexy wine? One that if it took human form it would probably have smoldering eyes. Does that help sum up my palette preference? Upon first pour I noticed the ruby coloring and the nice weight, my first indication that it just might be a something I like. As I rolled the glass slightly I smiled as the nice legs emerged. The nose was a little underwhelming for me but I definitely picked up on fruit over any spice. We took our first sip and we both could tell it was a little tight on the finish and would need some time to open up. Dark fruit came to mind but I couldn’t define it much past that. About 10 minutes in I could pick up a faint tartness, perhaps the cherry, and the finish began to balance out. At 30 minutes it felt like we had flat-lined and we weren’t picking up on anything new. But wait, we were merely drinking the wine and not sampling foods. That must be it, we thought. We immediately began pairing it with cheese and then our dinner, which was about 2 hours after the bottle had been opened, had a pork and pasta combination. The food definitely helped to bring out a little more spice, perhaps smoky flavor is the right way to describe that. The change, however, wasn’t as dramatic as I had hoped. It is definitely a medium bodied wine that is easy to drink but I personally didn’t find it that interesting. If lighter bodied reds is what you gravitate towards then I would say this might just be something you would like but for me it just didn’t hit the mark. Don’t get me wrong, it was a perfectly pleasant wine and I wouldn’t turn my nose up if it was offered to me but I will not be ordering a case.