Yesterday was #CabernetDay – a worldwide celebration of the Cabernet grape ( you do know there’s another Cabernet beyond his royal highness Cabernet Sauvignon, right?- there’s also Cabernet Franc) . It’s a chance to get together with friends and kick it with some Cab! Since there’s hashtag you can also kick it with your friends on social media.
“A bottle of wine begs to be shared: I have never met a miserly wine lover” – Clifton Paul Fadiman
My wife and I decided to celebrate the third annual #CabernetDay by inviting some of our wine loving friends from our community wine-tasting club over. The Evite simply stated “We’ll open up a couple of great bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Redmond Cellar and chop it up!”
In other words, no blind-tasting, no tasting notes – just a communion with Cab, conversation, and cuisine (okay…it wasn’t really “cuisine” it was more like carry-out, cheese and crackers but I couldn’t resist a lame attempt at an alliteration – I give myself a “C” ;-))
Of course when wine lovers get together there are plenty of words. Certainly, there was talk of aromas, flavors, body, finishes, etc. But mostly we talked about other stuff – like how to get rid of ants (Terro is literally “killer” ant control by the way), our kids, fun times like vacation and scaring the hell out of 5 year-olds on Halloween. And on this night, we also “chopped it up” on some “third rail” topics like politics, race, and discrimination. Interesting and intellectual indeed.
But beyond all the words, there is what we do, or as the saying goes – “Action speaks louder than words”. So when I get together with my wine loving friends and we’ve got a bunch-o-bottles of wine from which to choose, I pay attention to which wine disappears first. And that tells me more than the all words uttered about the wine. In that regard, there was a clear winner last night – a wine that disappeared stunningly swiftly – Damn quick, fast and in a hurry! More on that later. I hereby offer my words in the form of tasting notes on the five wines we enjoyed last night.
Garnet color with baked black cherry, raspberry, and dried herb aromas. On the palate it medium-bodied with tart black cherry and vanilla flavors and dusty tannins. Medium finish – 86pts.
Varietal(s) – 99% Cabernet Sauvignon/1% Syrah; Appellation – 91% Paso Robles/9%; Cooperage – French, Hungarian and American oak-25% new; Alcohol – 13.9%; SRP-$20. Production – 30,700 cases; Media sample
Dark garnet color with aromatic cassis, licorice, plum, and boxwood aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-full bodied with black raspberry, black currant, cocoa flavors. Slightly tannic. Young. Medium-long finish – 88 pts
Varietal(s) – 85% Cabernet Sauvignon/11% Merlot/3% Syrah, and 1% Malbec. Appellation – Napa Valley; Cooperage – Aged 20 months in small oak barrels (25% new) Alcohol – 13.5%; SRP – $28; Production: 117,000 cases; Media sample
Deep garnet color with lifted dark fruit, anise, and earthy aromas. On the palate it medium-full bodied and smooth with well-integrated tannins, cassis, black cherry, and vanilla flavors. Long finish. – 91pts
Varietal(s) – 69% Cabernet Sauvignon/10% Malbec/8% Cabernet French/7% Merlot/6% Petit Verdot: Appellation – Sonoma County; Cooperage – Aged 20 months in French oak (45% new, 55% older ); Alcohol – 14.2%; SRP – $58; Production: Unknown
Deep garnet color with aromatic dark fruits, licorice, mint, and oak aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied with well-integrated “Rutherford Dust”tannins, good acidity and ripe cherry, blueberry, and cocoa flavors. Long finish. 15.2% alcohol.
Varietal(s) – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; Appellation – Napa Valley; Cooperage: Aged 18 months in French oak (50% new); Alcohol – 15.2%; SRP – $45; Production: 260 cases
Carmine color with beguiling cassis, anise, and violet aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, balanced, and fresh blueberry, cherry, vanilla flavors with well-integrated tannins. Medium-long finish.
Varietal(s) – 75% Cabernet Sauvignon/20% Merlot/3% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc; Appellation – Santa Cruz Mountains; Cooperage – 100% air-dried american oak barrels; (40% new, 50% one year old, and 10% two years old). 20 months in barrel; Alcohol – 13.5%; SRP – $38; Production: unknown
There were 9 tasters, 5 of which I would consider “hard-core” wine lovers. We enjoyed all the wines. But as I stated earlier there was one wine that disappeared more quickly than all the rest….
2008 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
It was the clear winner in that regard. Next fastest was the 2007 Piña, followed by the 2005 F-C Trésor, the 2010 Wild Horse, and the 2010 Franciscan Estate. For the value, the majority of the tasters preferred the Wild Horse.
It was a great evening great evening with friends, wine and food! Let’s do it again next month for the #PinotSmackdown!
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