Joel Gott: 20 Years Under $20

Joel Gott 2015 Palisades Red Wine California 13.9% $19
This was Joel Gott’s 20th vintage, after having started his business when he saw the demand for wines under $20 back in 1996. This is a blend not only of grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Malbec and Cabernet Franc), but also of regions (Lake County, Monterey and Lodi) with the aim of making a wine of harmony.

From a palate perspective, it hits the nail on the head. The tannins are creamy smooth and charismatically contrasted by the undercurrent of refreshing acidity. Alas, the well-concentrated palate load feels cumbersome, despite the deftly managed alcohol. It begins with the black plums and blackberries - delightfully scented with licorice - that verge on over-ripeness. Yet, it is the dramatic oak treatment that eats into this wine’s drinkability. There’s plenty of it, and it is very distinctively American with its overwhelming, toasted coconut notes. Its swashbuckling personality is sure to be polarizing, but the succulence on the palate will certainly create fans.