The Needle 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Review by Phillip Koh

Wine Profile:

Name: The Needle

Vintage: 2015

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

Company: Lot 18 / TR Wines

Appellation: Paso Robles, California

Alcohol:  13.9%

Price (apx. average) $17


This was another delicious wine in the selection by that was sent to me in the batch of my wine box delivery.  I am a member to their wine club, and they have been pretty consistent in picking wines that suit my palate, as well as being consistent in the quality of their offerings.


As you can see on the Instagram video embedded on this blog above, it has a beautiful, dense, medium-dark red , between red/black cherry and deep purple color.


Fruity, full bodied, balanced, ripe, woody earthy and bold fruit with big body and voluptuous and deep in aroma and bouquet. Black fruit and red fruits mixed in.


Strong burst of tart sourness fills the mouth right away, but rounded out almost as immediately by tons of earth and wood, as well as some wet pipe tobacco.  Not a lot of tannin or astringency especially in the beginning. Juicy red fruits as well as black fruits.  Sour cherry flavor followed and balanced out by a lot of vanilla and then fine pencil lead and crushed gravel and stones sets in, building up the astringency/dryness gradually.  Mineral character is strong and helps balance out the high acidic fruit.  Finish with ripe plum flesh, it builds up and becomes prominent as you keep drinking. Has a bit of smoke / a little bit of bitterness which adds to character. Medium high to high/ big body. Doesn’t drink like traditional cabernet sauvignon High acidity and brightness frontal attack reminds me of the Terra D’Oro Barbera that I also reviewed here (click to open in a new tab)

Wine Characteristics:

Sweetness: 2 out of 5     Dry

Acidity 4.25 out of 5       Sour

Tannin:  3.25 out of 5    Just about average

Alcohol:  4 out of 5         Medium-High

Body: 4.5 out of 5           pretty Full-Bodied

FoodnWineBlog’s Ratings:

Quality:  4.25 out of 5  High quality wine, didn’t dissapoint.

Value: Quality per Dollar: 4 out of 5   at upwards of $17-18 a bottle, it’s not exactly a classic value wine or “everyday wine” to many, but quality is high enough and price isn’t exorbitant so it still carries a good value.

Food Pairings:

Any Steak, I can picture this well with a high quality Top Sirloin Steak, the juicy cut will fair well. Since it’s moderate in astringency, it’ll go with clean leaner meat as well, like the Fillet Mignon or other kinds of red steaks and meats, as well as BBQ’d lamb.

The Verdict:

Another high-quality red wine from / Lot18 / TR Wines.  This one has an unusual, very interesting characteristics for a Cabernet Sauvignon because of the acidity and sour / sour-cherry flavor that is part of the overall profile. That initial sourness isn’t that “cheap sour” taste of a real cheap, crappy red wine, but that of a more sophisticated one that just happens not to be so usual for a good bottle of oak-aged Cabernet Sauvignon at this price range.  I recommend the 2015 The Needle wine for those that are Red wine lovers who aren’t afraid of trying out a different type of flavors or a bit of tartness in their red wine.

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