Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cabernet Afternoon

I like afternoon wine tastings, especially when it involves good wine. There was one yesterday.  Our semi-usual group got together and worked through seven Cabernet based wines at a list price of between $15 and $30.   Five were from California, one from Australia and one from Chile. 

There was a wide array of styles and all of the wines were well made, though not all the wines suited every individual taste.  For what they were all but one of the wines succeeded. All but one was worthwhile.  Sadly for me that disappointing wine was one that I would have picked as a strong choice for a top finish before the wines were tasted.  Of the five folks rating the wines I think the Beaulieu Rutherford Cabernet from the 2005 vintage was everyone's bottom wine.

It started well with good dark color and a strong nose of black cherries, dark berries and vanilla.  It had a full sweet taste and a nice initial mouth feel with some good tannins.  Just past the mid-palate the wine disappeared.  I don't mean it faded quickly, I mean it totally disappeared.  The only thing one could say about the finish was that it was wet.  Rechecking this wine over the course of the afternoon only proved the initial impression to be correct, it faded more quickly than Linsay Lohan out on probation.  It was also near the top end of the price range.  The BV Rutherford has to me always been one the outstanding values in Napa Valley Cabernet.  Not this time.  14.4% alcohol.

At the other end of the day there was a near dead heat for the top wine between two bottles, Educated Guess 2007 from Napa Valley and a 2007 Errazuriz Single Vineyard, Max 1 vineyard from Chile.  Two tasters had each wine first and the other third ,with the difference being the fifth taster who picked the Educated Guess third and the Errazuriz fourth. 

The Educated Guess was dark and brooding in color with a nose of blackberries and sour, dark cherries.  The fruit was strong tasting and intense without being overly sweet.  Good acid and a nice backbone of tannin helped this wine along.  There was a big, dry finish with good length to it.  14.5% and $23.

The Errazuriz was entirely different.  The color was medium red in the glass and the nose was red cherries and herbs with only a suggestion of darker fruit.  Great acidity and surprising ripe tannin gave this wine more body and structure than the color indicated.  There was an elegance to this wine that suited my taste.  It too was 14.5% alcohol and checked in at $20.

The rest tomorrow. 

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