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This Saturday we embark upon one of my favorite subjects, Cabernet Sauvignon. Two of the wines are from Napa Valley, two are from Sonoma County and two are from Paso Robles. There is no rhyme nor is there reason for the assortment other than the fact the sealed cases have been sitting in my back room for half a year and now is the perfect time to break them open and enjoy the treasure within. All are similar in structure and the alcohol range is from 14 to 15 %. Yet all do differ from one another and only by tasting them side by side can one fully appreciate the subtleties in variation.
2006 ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY CABERNET SAUV., NAPA
List price 25.00; our price 19.99
Tannins are chewy and mouth-coating, merging with engaging flavors of blackberry, black plum and cassis and just a hint of black olive. All this power is knit together into a harmonious whole to create a well-structured wine that makes a bold statement and culminates in a very long, satisfying finish. Robert Parker Wine Advocate gave the wine a 90 Points Rating: “Slightly superior to the 2005, the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa possesses a dark ruby/purple color as well as a creme de cassis, spice box, and floral-scented bouquet, and a medium to full-bodied finish. A strong effort, it should drink nicely for 12-15 years.”
2006 MOUNT VEEDER WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON, NAPA
List price 35.00; our price 29.99
This fine Cab is filled with mountain character and is big, bold and brambly. Fruit is blended from the Mount Veeder ranches with other small lots of rich, intense Napa Valley grapes to create a powerful and complex wine with fine tannins and the potential to age. The blend is 83% Cab, 10% Merlot, 5% Syrah and 2% Malbec and Petite Verdot. There are vibrant layers consisting of brambly dark berry, cassis, bay and mocha. The wine is rich and concentrated with flavors of blackberry, dark cherry, chocolate and cassis. It shows good structure and is well-balanced, with fine-grained tannins and a long finish of cassis and sweet vanilla notes.
2006 SIMI WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON,
LANDSLIDE VINEYARD, SONOMA
List price 33.00; our price 28.99
The Landslide Vineyard is comprised of numerous soil types and microclimates created by an ancient volcanic landslide from nearby Mount St. Helena. These soil variations, combined with diverse topography, result in varied bud break, flowering, veraison and harvest times in the vineyard blocks. Along with the complexity created by the different soil types and topography, Simi has planted an assortment of varieties and clones. Nine different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with plantings of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec give winemaker Steve Reeder the tools needed to create spectacular blends of the Bordeaux varietals. The wine has intense plum, black cherry and cassis aromas that are spiced with caramel and toast. In the mouth, blackberry and plum flavors are accented with cocoa and spice giving layers of complexity and depth. It is full on the palate with ripe tannins which lead to lasting flavor and intensity.
2005 ARROWOOD WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON, SONOMA
List price 29.50; our price 25.00
This wine is deep, dense and highly aromatic. The nose is saturated with plums, cassis, currants, vanilla, earth and toast. The palate is intense and well supported by finely integrated tannins and balanced acidity. It will drink beautifully in its youth and should continue to improve over the next decade. The blend is 95% Cab, 3% Malbec and 2.0% Petit Verdot.
2006 ÉCLUSE CABERNET SAUVIGNON, LOCK VINEYARD,
List price 29.95; our price 23.50
Écluse Wines is a tiny family owned vineyard and winery tucked away in the prized rolling hills in the Westside of the Paso Robles AVA. The wine shows big, rich meaty notes on the nose while delivering tons of dry blackberry and bramble flavors. The tannins are soft and serve to balance the blackberry and plum fruit. Only 259 cases were produces.
006 DAOU VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUV., “CELESTUS”,
List price 39.95; our price 29.99
The Celestus is a blend of Cab (80%), Syrah (15%) and Petit Verdot (5%). The nose exudes raspberry, red plums, dark cherry, sandlewood, anise, lavender and roses. This wine is dry with a strong tannin backbone and hints of plum, anise, rose petal and is multi layered with a long finish that is very complex. From The Tasting Panel, May 2009: “Rating – 92. Supple and nervy with juicy plum and cassis fruit with sweet oak and racy acidity; long and balanced with smooth finesse. – Anthony Dias Blue”