Great $15 Cabs belong in an elite club that everyone wants to belong to.
It’s hard to do—making an affordable Cab that’s not too sweet, doesn’t taste artificial, doesn’t have a hard edge or doesn’t overwhelm the senses like a sledgehammer to a nine-inch nail. One whiff of the 2015 SUBSTANCE Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State, and you know you’re in for something groundbreaking, something akin to the first time you dropped the needle on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on vinyl.
The bright, energetic nose of red cherry, young blackberry, plum and dark cacao is the scent of something vibrant, something vital. Sure enough, when the wine hits the front palate, it’s a delicious strike of the acidity of berries before the wine’s luscious fruit flavor and easygoing texture takes over the mid-palate. Just terrific Cab—so quaffable and not heavy, even at 14.5% alcohol level. There’s almost a Syrah-like quality to this Cabernet Sauvignon, with the prominence of red and purple fruit notes plus a hint of violets and cured meats and the presence of minerality. It’s an uproarious amount of complexity at play here.
Wines like this deserve to be immensely popular. Every now and then, there comes along a hit song that’s also high art. Let’s see… Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” or yeah, Pearl Jam’s “Alive.” It’s easy to miss the artistry behind the curtain when something is so readily pleasing and enjoyable.
This might be the best $15 Cab in existence. –J.M.