Branding Iron – or at least "iron" – seems a proper term for this backward, earthy, tightly furled cabernet. This wine sees
more skin contact than its cousins do – 29 days as opposed to 19 days for the Sullenger, 18 for Stelling, 14 for Dragonfly and 13 for Vogt – and it's chiefly in the skin where tannin resides. (It also receives a smidgeon more oak.) Ergo, this is one mother of a tannic wine, yet to be a tad more gentle about the issue, the tannins are supple, polished, finely-milled. And in a sense, their permeation, along with spicy oak, is so complete that there's no difference between them and the plum and black cherry fruit the wine embodies and its plush, velvety texture; the medium is the message. Still, briars and brambles come up on the finish, and the wine concludes with a tide of astringency.