Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

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Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:22 am

Let's get this posted on the last day of the old month, so those who wish to get an early start on February's Cabernet tastings will have the full weekend to work on it. :)

Cabernet Sauvignon, the great red grape of Bordeaux, has spread its fame around the world and prompted growers in almost every wine producing area around the globe (except, perhaps, Burgundy and other outliers ;) ) to try their hand at this variety. At its best, it produces subtle, elegant wines of great depth and significant ageworthiness. Its best, particularly from Bordeaux but also in California, Australia and elsewhere, can be very expensive. In Bordeaux and often elsewhere, it turns up playing a major role in a blend of grapes. In the New World, it often stands alone as a 100 percent varietal wine.

This month's Focus places a preferential option on California Cab as a full-varietal wine, but this is by no means binding. Bring your "Meritage" or Bordeaux blends; show up with Cab and Cab blends from all over the globe, and you'll be welcome. For newbies and even for experts, Cabernet offers its challenges and lots to learn. We hope a lot of you will take part.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Joy Lindholm » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:26 pm

It will be interesting to see how many 100% Cab Sauv wines show up here. I am by no means a Cali Cab expert, but I find that a lot of Cabs that are labeled "Cabernet Sauvignon" are actually blends. Due to California's law that it has to be 75% of the wine if labeled as such, this gives a loophole for wineries to market to the "I don't drink Merlot" drinkers and still include Merlot as well as Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, etc in the blend. Kudos to those with full disclosure of the blend proportions on the back label, but sometimes it requires more research to determine the makeup. It will be interesting to see who is doing 100% Cab these days and who is still doing the Bordeaux style blends. I am looking forward to finding more balanced and affordable California Cabernet, as the usual Napa style turns me off.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:54 pm

Could be an interesting month here. I am always busy planning a nature festival at this time of the year but do have a couple of S Africa cabs that require some attention, plus one from Tahbilk (Australia).
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby JC (NC) » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:22 pm

I will be weighing in later in the month. I plan to include a Mendocino Redwood Valley C.S. and a Cab from Mendoza, Argentina in a church fundraiser taking place Feb. 22. I will probably open at least one Cab before then, maybe two.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:50 pm

I like the way cabernet gets the shortest month of the year! :lol:

Which is fine by me, I don't drink much of the stuff. Although obviously there is lots to explore...
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Jim Grow » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:22 am

I'll start the ball rolling for this month with a 2006 Sodaro "Felicity" Napa Cabernet which is made up of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 7% P.V. and 1% Cab. Franc. This is my second bottle but my first with my sinus under control. Pop-n-pour tonight on short notice and was pleased with nose of sweet cherry, spiced plum, olive, a very dusty (Rutherford-like) quality and note of tobacco. I could sniff this wine all nite. Equal parts fruit and dust/earth/complexity, this wine was near maturity based on the smoothness of the tannins and the great balance but I'm thinking this wine could age easily for another decade. abv of 14.5% Glad I have a few more. I will decant the next bottle for a few hours. I am savoring the smell as I write.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:59 am

2010 Rust en Vrede Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch SA.

Frequenting my fave winebar downtown, I was surprised to find this bottle had just been opened. This winery has always turned out some nice wines in my book and good prices too.


Dark purple with a reddish purple rim. Floral, brambly nose and a hint of green pepper that one can find in SA reds. Medium-bodied and tannic with a hint of newish oak? Cherry, plum, tobacco, some mineral tones. Needs more bottle age I think to really show its stuff.
$28 on the shelf at DeVines close by. Think Allesverloren next.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Tim York » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:22 am

It's a pity :( that my few bottles of Cali and Oz Cab are buried in a stack of removal boxes which I won't open until i have a permanent storage solution at our new Norman home. There are some nice ones there too, such as Montelena, Diamond Creek and one each of Opus One, Ridge Montebello, Moss Wood and Wynn's John Riddoch from the early/mid 90s, which I have been looking for a reason to open. It would be a miracle if i found a decent one here in the Norman shops.

The one box which I did open to provide tips for the removal men contained Poujeaux, Potensac and Gruaud-Larose from 00 and 01 and several bottles remain. I think that these just about qualify as Cabs from beyond :? .
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:29 am

Tim York wrote:The one box which I did open to provide tips for the removal men contained Poujeaux, Potensac and Gruaud-Larose from 00 and 01 and several bottles remain. I think that these just about qualify as Cabs from beyond :? .

They most certainly do! Bring them on, Tim. :)
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:20 pm

Nice tipping style there Tim! Forumites might be interested to know that Tim has moved to Normandy from Belguim so we will be getting lots of cider TNs plus maybe Calvados :D .
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Carl Eppig » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:58 pm

2009 Tobin James, Notorious, Paso Robles, Cabernet Sauvignon ($18, Alcohol level 14.4%). This was the second Cab we opened from the “Blue Label” shipment from TJ last spring. It is more than ready to go and gave traditional black fruit including cassis on the nose and upfront. There was more of the fruit in middle and just a touch of vanilla/oak, and a lovely finish. The “Blue Labels” from Tobin James are their journeyman wines. Matched it with grill paned beef loin ends Teriyaki, baked Yukon Golds, and salad.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:29 am

The other day I had the chance to taste the 2011 Chester's Anvil Hattori Hanzo from the cooperative production of Lagier-Meredith and Pott Wines. It is indeed a blennd, and in fact could not be labeled Cabernet Sauvignon, as it is only 66% Cab (the rest is a mix, including but not limited to Merlot, Syrah, etc.). That being said, it tastes of Cabernet - clearly of Cabernet. There's lots of dark cassis and blackberry fruit, and the firm tannins frame the wine very well. I ended up buying a couple of bottles to share, as I think it's a really interesting and delicious effort.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:50 pm

Here is one from beyond!

2010 d`Arenberg The High Trellis Cab Sauv, Mclaren Vale Aus.

Purchased on a whim, $18 Cdn, always enjoy anything from d`A! Did not expect anything too serious a style but Majella was $39 :( .

Blackberry color with hints of purple on rim. Nose had it all..oak, black cherry, violets, plum. Quite a fruit basket eh.
Initial entry was medium-bodied, lush, soft tannins, easy to drink and great with rib-eye. Raspberry as it opened, some earth maybe, very modern. I could go on, the ladies will like this for sure. Gonna have to dig out the Tahbilk for sure.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Brian K Miller » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:26 pm

2010 St. Supery Dollarhide Elevation Cabernet Sauvignon.

This is the softer, less structured, and fruitier Dollarhide wine. Made for earlier drinking, unlike the St. Supery Estate (Rutherford) or the Dollarhide regular cab.
Soft cherry fruit, plums, a touch of earth. Tannins seem pretty mild...not a lot of bite. Acid is mellow. I don't see this as a wine for the cellar. Not too exciting, to be honest, and expensive. BUT...it made a fantastic pizza wine with friends Sunday night!

2010 Batholemew Park Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Much earthier than the St. Supery. Maybe less prominent sweet fruit. Tannins more evident. Also...the oak is more prominent, which suggests (I hope) a little bit of cellar time. I've enjoyed past vintages, so I have my jopes.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Brian K Miller » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:28 pm

Tim York wrote:It's a pity :( that my few bottles of Cali and Oz Cab are buried in a stack of removal boxes which I won't open until i have a permanent storage solution at our new Norman home. There are some nice ones there too, such as Montelena, Diamond Creek and one each of Opus One, Ridge Montebello, Moss Wood and Wynn's John Riddoch from the early/mid 90s, which I have been looking for a reason to open. It would be a miracle if i found a decent one here in the Norman shops.

The one box which I did open to provide tips for the removal men contained Poujeaux, Potensac and Gruaud-Larose from 00 and 01 and several bottles remain. I think that these just about qualify as Cabs from beyond :? .


Normandy is so beautiful! Lucky man!
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Gary Kahle » Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:36 pm

I haven’t been buying/drinking much Cabernet for some time now but do have a fair stash in the cellar from 1987 thru 2000 and a few since then. I opened this 1992 Dalla Valle Napa Valley last night so I could play on this thread. My first smell made me think it was over the hill because of some rotten fruit odors. I let it sit for about a half hour and that blew off and it became a pretty darn nice wine. Color was dark and bright and flavors were well balanced (maybe a tad too much oak) for a 20+ year Cab. I stuck the cork back in the bottle and let sit over night and tasted tonight expecting some improvement. The stink has returned and again it improved some with air but not enough to be great. Weird.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Jim Grow » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:55 pm

I opened my last bottle of a case of 2009 Calistoga Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon last night. Yes I do go through some reds pretty quickly but this one was almost ready to go on release. Consumed with kung pao venison and given a 3 hr. decant, it was very nice with smooth tannins and spicey plum fruit balanced by adequate acidity. Never made to be an ager, I'm glad I discovered this label and enjoyed each and every bottle. If I see the 2010 I'll surely try it too.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Jim Grow » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:01 pm

Jeez, it looks like I am the only one around here drinking Cab. or Cab. blends. Anyway this 2008 Antucura Calcura Vista Flores from Argentina was again a great mouthful of gulpable Cabernet-like wine. With 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 20% Malbec this hopefully qualifies for the focus. Deep purple in color with a nose of plum and eucalyptus, the palate is full of deep plum flavor with again a distinct dusty note that I really love. ABV of 15% and a nice buy at less than 12$. I have a few more but wish I had another case. Once again the nose is wonderful!!
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Tim York » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:29 am

Château Poujeaux - cru bourgeois Moulis-en-Médoc - 2000 - Theil - Alc.12.5%.

This is my contribution for a Cab from "beyond" and came from the only box which is accessible at present after the move. In fact the Cab content is lower than usual from Médoc - 50% C.Sauv., 5% C.franc, 40% Merlot and 5% PV.

With the proviso that this was the first bottle of this vintage opened, so no "before" comparison, the wine seems to have withstood the shaking and temperature changes quite well. It was a bit closed at first with a prune touch on the finish. It then opened up quite nicely to reveal an unusual but quite appealing balsamic aroma allied to robust Médoc fruit with the prune touch receding and medium/full body with decent depth and fair length. Not the finest Poujeaux which has passed my lips (could still be a tad young for full development), but an enjoyable left-banker. Good+.

I hope my more delicate and older wines have withstood the transport as successfully as this.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:27 am

Thanks Tim. I often buy both Poujeaux and Potensac, but only Potensac in 2000, so I will have to live through your note.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Jim Grow » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:14 pm

Opened this 2009 Waterbrook Reserve Cabernet from Walla Walla Washington tonight with venison chili. Very open tonight with plum and cranberry flavors and a bit of spice, this wine is near peak and might hold for another 5-6 years but best now. 13% abv , deep purple and quite enjoyable as a near term quaffer.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:26 am

My group's blind tasting last night, and amid a ton of dross were two wines that really surprised everyone. The 1997 Estancia Meritage (Alexander Valley) was the top wine of the night, and showed great development, and leathery complexity. The other shocker was that the group unanimously praised the 2004 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley). Yes it showed some (though not a lot) oak, but it also showed balance, definition and a very long finish. We held onto these two wines and drank them with some beef stew, and they worked very well.

The rest of the field was best forgotten, including a 2003 Leoville Poyferre that showed everything bad about the 2003 vintage (high alcohol, dried prune fruit, bitter finish), and not one, but two bottles of 2012 Apothic Red that was retchingly sweet and not unlike IHOP blueberry syrup. Lest you think that was the bottom of the barrel, two wines scored lower than the Apothic. The 2011 Duckhorn Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County) was mind-numbingly bland, and the 2011 Wiliam Hill Cabernet Sauvignon (Central Coast) was so badly reduced that it smelled like a tire fire.
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Jim Grow » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:35 pm

I opened the Maxwell Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Napa Valley tonight with left-over Kung Pao Venison. This wine was all about sweet and sour cherry with NO secondary complexity even hinting at an appearance. Very open and gulpable now with probably little complexity to develope, I'll finish my remaining bottles within the year
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Re: Wine Focus Feb 2014: Cabernet from California and beyond

Postby Drew Hall » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:13 pm

I found an orphan 2004 Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon in the cellar. Solid cab showing black cherry and cassis flavors with hints of dark chocolate and dark coffee. Really nice to drink with just enough tannins to offer structure. The winemaker notes the blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Shiraz, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Tannat.

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