My local warehouse-style retailer (part of the mid-Atlantic's Total Wine empire) has been featuring a number of inexpensive California Cabernets lately. Although Cal-Cab at any price point isn't a category I've devoted much attention to in the past, several of these have been darn tasty and offered good QPR to boot, this bottle included.
Medium to medium-dark, mostly clear ruby-purple. An initially heady nose of port and cedar settles down somewhat but never fully disappears behind sweet dark plum and currant. Medium- to full-bodied, with a sappy mouthfeel and black fruit flavors accented with black pepper. A strong black licorise note emerges on the long finish. Slightly hot, and better on its own than with grilled lamb. I would have guessed it higher than the stated 13.5% alcohol. With all the requisite caveats for those not fond of the style, I'd have to call this a good example of the genre, even better given the $13 price tag.
FEAR THE TURTLE ! ! !