By Ryan Koczara
Price Range : $60 - 64
Region: Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, California Ready to Drink: 4-5 years after bottle vintage
You know the joy of an unexpected surprise?—like when you find a tattered $20 dollar bill in a pair of pants you just laundered, or receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers from a secret admirer, or ending up in the black on a trip to Vegas? Well, the 2012 LUCAS & LEWELLEN Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 6 is an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon from—surprise!—Santa Barbara County, of California’s Central Coast wine growing region.
The grapes of this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon are sourced from the Valley View Vineyard of Santa Ynez Valley, an area hardly known for making Cab—Pinot and Syrah, yes, but not Cab. The nose exudes rose petals and the color is an inky crimson. When this liqueur-like elixir glides across your palate, the style will seem reminiscent of a Cab from Rutherford, Napa. Lots of structure, black currant and black tea, but violets, rhubarb, cherry and spice permeate as well. Dashing and debonair, the wine’s concentration, relatively high alcohol content and gripping tannins lend to its masculine side. The exceptionally long finish provides perpetual bliss. This wine was evaluated over the course of two days. While impressive upon opening, give it time to spread its wings. Therefore, decanting is recommended if near-instant gratification is required.
Perhaps this wine is a promising sign of things to come from Santa Barbara County when it comes to producing an abundance of quality Cab that is on par with northern neighbors such as Paso Robles, Napa and Sonoma. Lucas & Lewellen’s Clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon—the best Cab we’ve tasted yet from this region—shatters any preconceived notions and sets a standard for what Santa Barbara is capable of producing. You’ve hit the jackpot! –R.K.