The Parducci Small Lot Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Merlot (Merlot is the traditional Bordeaux companion to Cabernet Sauvignon, it adds flavor and softens the Cab) produced from grapes grown in vineyards in the Mendocino County AVA of Northern California. Parducci is a family owned winery that has done business since 1932, which was during Prohibition, they sold grapes to home winemakers. The Small Lot Cabernet is a value priced wine, lists for $12.99, but its fact sheet does not read like one. We have a single AVA Cabernet with 22 months of oak barrels aging, 25% new French oak and the rest neutral barrels. A Cabernet Sauvignon that has been barrel aged for almost 2 years in this price range is rare, it isn’t all that common with Cabs selling for 2x the price. We expect California Cabs to show solid oak influence and that is not always easy in more inexpensive wines (oak barrels are expensive and time is money), but Parducci seems to have made it work. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a dark barely see-thru black cherry red with an almost clear halo. The nose is blackberry, brown sugar, plum, French vanilla, and chocolate. This is a dry Cab with a soft mouth-feel and solid structure, this is a value Cabernet that is not afraid to show some tannins. It tastes of extracted blackberry and licorice, a little bitter dark chocolate, and raspberry. The mid-palate brings a black pepper, a touch of vanilla, a little blueberry, and herbs. There is a slight (and proper) pull from the tannins, good Cabernet grapes have solid tannin structure and it seems all too often value-priced Cabernet Sauvignon try to hide them or diminish them, but here, the tannins are right where they belong. The finish is full of flavor if not particularly long.
The Parducci Small Lot Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is a solid, tasty, and proper California Cab, it just happens to be well-priced. Soft, smooth, and easy-to-drink, along with solid structure. This is a nice, chewy, Cabernet, it will have you smacking your lips after each sip, and that’s a good Cabernet Sauvignon to me. A wine that really engages your palate,