Today’s word is used to describe robust wines of great substance. Powerful wines can be a bit overwhelming to the palates of those who prefer their wines on the mellow side. Despite their potent nature, these wines never lack a sense of balance, which is why this is viewed as a positive tasting descriptor.
“Powerful” in wine vocabulary is often found in reference to two aspects, a wine’s tannins and/or alcohol content. Tannins are responsible for the level of bitterness astringency as well as complexity and structure to a wine. Powerful tannins will be clearly present in a wine. In terms of the alcohol content, a powerful wine will have a high one without being excessive. Meaning that, despite the fact that it is higher than average, the alcohol content will still be in balance with the other aspects of the wine ie tannins and fruit content. In a powerful wine you can expect every trait to be firing on all cylinders.
One of the best things about powerful wines is their ability to age, giving time for all of these dominant traits to mellow. So don’t write these wines off even if your tastes lean to the softer side, a few years in the cellar and a powerful wine might just might transform into your palates perfect match.
2008 Hundred Acre “Kayli Mogan” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
R0bert Parker 96+: More European in style than some of its siblings, the 2008 exhibits good acidity, more noticeable tannin (but it is extremely young), and plenty of crushed rock, espresso roast and licorice characteristics intermixed with a volcanic minerality. Full-bodied, ripe and opulent, with a closed, formidable personality, it should be at its apogee between 2018 and 2035.
Stephen Tanzer 96+ Full red-ruby. Dark cherry, currant, mocha and minerals on the nose. Lush on entry, then creamy and deep in the middle but with a light touch; at once less open-knit and more vibrant than the Ark. Very shapely wine with a lot of material in reserve. The whiplash of a finish features mouthcoating, rather powerful tannins and terrific lift and length. Superb, and likely to be very long-lived.