The 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon is fabulous. Readers looking for an affordable Cabernet will flip out over the quality and value here. Ripe dark cherry fruit, plum, spice, mocha and liquorice are dialled up in this succulent, tasty Cabernet from Joey Tensley.
Joey Tensley's Fundamental wines offer superb value, which is increasingly hard to find today. The wines are done in a forward, juicy style best suited to near-term drinking.
Drink 2022 - 2026
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (June 2022)
Fundamental is Joey Tensley’s range of quality, value wines, intended to ‘over-deliver at every level’.
NHB. Deep crimson. Polished tannins with sweet tea-leaf character. Excellent freshness/ripeness combo. Central Coast may not be famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon, but this is a pleasing, persistent wine expressing both California and Cabernet. Good zestiness. Good value.
Drink 2023 - 2029
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (September 2023)
The 2020 Fundamental Cabernet Sauvignon has a medium to deep ruby colour and scents of baked cherries, thyme, milk chocolate and potpourri. The palate is full-bodied yet light on its feet, with lots of refreshing acidity, an alluring, supple texture and a long, perfumed finish. Enjoy this easy-drinking Cabernet over the next year or two.
Drink 2022 - 2024
Erin Brooks, Wine Advocate (December 2022)
Lastly, the 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon sports a deep purple hue with lots of ripe blue fruits, tobacco and cedar notes, medium to full body, ripe tannins, and an excellent finish. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better Cabernet Sauvignon from California for the price.
These Fundamental Wines are made by Joey Tensley and focus on value. Based on this tasting, I’d say he succeeds admirably.
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (August 2022)
About this WINE
Joey Tensley discovered wine at the age of 12 during a soccer trip to Bordeaux. He started making wine in 1993 at 22 and set up his own Tensley brand in 1998, spending the next 20 years finessing his craft with vintages in Chile, Argentina, Spain, and the Rhône Valley. Joey had already discovered a particular passion for Syrah and had started his own production in Santa Barbara with the mindset to create great quality and affordable wines from Rhône varieties.
He has since extended his range, producing exciting top-quality Syrah from single vineyards with excellent cellaring potential under the Tensley label, as well as brilliant and affordable Rhône blends, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon for drinking now under his Fundamental label.
Joey’s approach is simple: he works with great fruit from the best growers in the Central Coast and is as ‘hands-off’ as possible in the winery with minimum use of oak and sulfur. In 2016, he purchased 16 acres of his only estate vineyard, Colson Canyon, which lies above the all-important fog line, from which he had already been buying grapes to make his flagship cuvée since 2000.
Known as the King of Syrah, Joey Tensley has become renowned for his expertise with this variety, gaining a long list of accolades and high scores from critics such as Robert Parker. Today, he is widely recognized as one of the foremost winemakers in California. His wines reflect his thoughtful, laid-back approach and demonstrate a mineral purity that is quite exceptional for this region, especially at these price points.
Santa Barbara County
At the foot of the Central Coast, just north of Los Angeles, the Santa Barbara County reverberates with its Missionary past, although viticulture as we know didn't arrive here until the 1970s. Now there are 6,000 ha of world class Pinot Noir & Chardonnay.
While fog banks shape the season, together with a notable rainfall deficit between May & November, elevated terraces such as Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley AVA faciliate premium fruit growing. Santa Ynez Valley AVA enjoys similar trait, though cooler still;
The most famous red wine grape in the world and one of the most widely planted.
It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, although it performs particularly well on well-drained, low-fertile soils. It has small, dusty, black-blue berries with thick skins that produce deeply coloured, full-bodied wines with notable tannins. Its spiritual home is the Médoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux where it thrives on the well-drained gravel-rich soils producing tannic wines with piercing blackcurrant fruits that develop complex cedarwood and cigar box nuances when fully mature.
The grape is widely planted in California where Cabernet Sauvignon based wines are distinguished by their rich mixture of cassis, mint, eucalyptus and vanilla oak. It is planted across Australia and with particular success in Coonawarra where it is suited to the famed Terra Rossa soil. In Italy barrique aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a key component in Super Tuscans such as Tignanello and Sassicaia, either on its own or as part of a blend with Sangiovese.