Friday, January 7, 2011

Rating: ***** $$$$ Modus Operandi Cellars Vicarious Red Wine, California, 2008 - Wine Review

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Initial review, by way of background: This is Modus Operandi Cellars Vicarious Red Wine, California, 2008, finished at 15.% alcohol, a blend of 35% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot, 20% syrah and 20% petite sirah from various vineyards in Napa Valley and the Sierra foothills of California.  The winemaker Jason Moore held the wine for 22 months in 65% new French oak barrels. 

In the glass: Vicarious Red is dark purple/magenta, muddy opaque starting only a quarter inch from the edge of the glass.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this red blend shows a funky, almost over-ripe nose even in this young bottle, blending mashed ripe plums with tomato sauce in a unique and spicy melange.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a concentrated, slick, sexy robe of deep, viscious fruit - blueberries mostly - that trickle along your mouth and cheeks ever-so-slowly, lodging in your cheeks with just enough tannins and acids to hold the fruit for almost a minute after you thought you finished your sip.  Hints of pipe tobacco come into the aromas as the sip slowly fades away.  None of the high, 15% alcohol comes across as heat in the fully-balanced palate.

In summary: Overall, a luxury experience with no rough edges that rates a full five stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  Not formally considered a best value because of its premium price, but definitely a keeper. Only 12 barrels produced, so not likely to be found widely available.

Following longer decant, one day kept cool in a partially filled bottle:   The funkiness is gone in the still-unusual melange of aromas on the nose.  The blueberries are brighter red now on the palate, and the tobacco turns just a little bit burnt.  Remains concentrated, full, lush and unique. 

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