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The Central Coast area of California has come a long way in improving the quality of Cabernet Sauvignon. Originally, many errors were made in the places the grape was planted. Along the way improvements had to be made in how to treat the vine to produce the best possible grapes. No area in California is going to surpass Napa Valley for producing the best possible Cabernets, though the potential for very fine examples is revealing itself as we shall see:
2007 RANCHO SISQUOC CABERNET SAUVIGNON, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
List price 20.00; our price 14.99
Rich and firm, this mature Cabernet expresses aromas of licorice, vanilla, fresh thyme and cocoa. The oak core is nicely framed by blackberry, brambleberry and bold tannin. The jam filled middle strikes a pleasant balance for such a big wine. The wine was aged in a combination of Hungarian, French and American oak for 19 months.
2006 CLOS LACHANCE CABERNET SAUVIGNON, CENTRAL COAST
List price 19.95; our price 14.99
This is a “Bordeaux” blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petite Verdot. The nose on this wine opens up with bright berry fruits, as well as plums, tobacco and a subtle floral note. Full and rich on the palate, blueberries, blackberries and dried cherries are the major fruit flavors in this wine. Dried plums and a little anise spice round off the wonderfully smooth finish. Moderate tannins make this a wonderful wine to drink with and compliment many foods. It received a 90-point rating from Wine Spectator Magazine: “This modern red shows toasty oak flavors of mocha and smoke, with luscious blackberry and black cherry fruit supported by ripe tannins. Balanced and lively. Drink now through 2014.”
2007 SMITH AND HOOK CABERNET SAUVIGNON, CENTRAL COAST
List price 19.95; our price 14.99
The Smith Ranch had been a horse ranch, while the Hook Ranch had raised cattle for generations. Their prime location provided a perfect setting for growing premium varietal fruit. Smith and Hook Winery released its first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon to high acclaim in 1980. Notes of black cherry, cassis and raspberry are followed by nuances of bell pepper and cocoa. This wine is lush and textured, with gripping tannins, well-developed acidity and a lingering finish.
2005 GALANTE VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON, CARMEL VALLEY
List price 23.50; our price 19.95
Jack Galante’s philosophy is simple: grow the finest grapes possible and let the fruit express itself in the wine. Since all of his grapes are estate grown, each bottle of wine produced embodies the characteristics of the unique region, exhibiting the natural flavors that are born from the land. The result of combined grapes from several of the parcels, this wine offers a burst of distinctive fruit flavors with a hint of oak and soft tannins on the finish.
2004 BEAR CAVE CELLARS CABERNET SAUVIGNON, PASO ROBLES
List price 28.00; our price 25.00
Bear Cave Cellars is the creation of Barry Kinman and Marilyn Curry who, in their other lives, are husband and wife as well as partners in the law firm, Kinman & Curry. In a unique melding of two distinctly different businesses, the law office is also a legal tasting room of Bear Cave Cellars. Whether you want legal advice or to try their wine, call their offices. This wine is made in the full fruit forward style displaying a big bouquet, full mouth feel and moving on to a lovely lengthy finish. The wine won a gold medal at the Mid-State fair.
2005 KIAMIE WINE CELLARS CABERNET SAUVIGNON, PASO ROBLES
List price 29.50; our price 25.00
This wine has a rich, approachable nature, and a ripe varietal character for which Paso Robles Cabernets are well-known. Cabernet Franc (25%) was blended into the wine to further enhance its complexity and structure. This wine is at its best now and offers full enjoyment of the savory aromas and flavors the wine has to offer. It won a gold medal at the L.A. International Wine & Spirits Competition. If given the opportunity, you should also try the R’Own Style Blend and the White Kuvée; both are delicious.