With its velvet labels and funky scripting, first impressions of Big Smooth wine mainly run to raised eyebrows and tempered expectations, even though it is part of the Don Sebastiani & Sons empire. Made from grapes grown in Lodi, the wine is actually produced and bottled in Napa. We tasted both expressions available from the wine’s 2015 vintage.
2015 Big Smooth Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi – This is a curious expression of zinfandel, meaty and earthy, with overtones of both prunes and violets. A very “purple” wine, the body is somewhat chalky, with notes of bell pepper and cocoa powder emerging on the finish. Overall, the wine feels scattered and a bit lost, in search of a focus. C / $27
2015 Big Smooth Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi – A bit of a chocolate bomb, with vanilla and cherry highlights, this wine starts out promising, with a rich nose and a bold palate, but it doesn’t last. As the finish emerges, the wine gets a bit thin, and a healthy dose of sugar comes to the fore, muddying the fruit and cocoa notes up front. B- / $27