Monday, August 23, 2010

A Few Other Cabernets

Continuing with the Cabernet Sauvignon wines discussed below, the other wine to get a first place vote was the 2007 Hahn Estates Central Coast Meritage from California.

The wine was almost black in the glass and while there was some fruit in the nose the primary aromas were cinnamon, allspice, vanilla and dry earth.  The fruit came to the fore in the taste with a good combination between black cherries and cranberries.  There was good acid and some ripe tannin and a tart finish with some length to it.  Good wine and my second choice of the entire group.  This wine was slightly different in that it was a Meritage wine, a blend of traditional Bordeaux varieties, though the label gave no hint as to what made up the blend.  Over the course of the afternoon the wine continued to improve.  14.5% and $23.

The oldest wine of the day was a 2001 Australian Cabernet, a Cockfighter's Ghost from the Coonawarra region.  The nose was closed at first and there was just a touch of brett in this wine.  The taste was ripe plums and dark berries with just a hint of a prune peeking out.  Dry mouth feel, good acid and tannin.  This was the wine which improved the most over the course of the afternoon.  The brett aroma faded and so did the taste of the prunes.  Still, this is a wine that is probably a year or two past its peak, but it was still good to drink.  13.5% alcohol.

The most controversial wine of the day was a 2005 Coniglio from Napa Valley. Two tasters loved this wine, one was somewhat neutral, one said it wasn't his favorite and I found it harsh and over the top.  Inky black color and almost viscous in the glass.  The nose was mostly huge dark fruit, black pepper and vanilla.  The nose reminded me more of an over-extracted Zinfandel.   The taste was sweet and hot with very ripe fruit, black cherries, blackberries.  The black pepper kicked in half way through, along with the tannin.  This wine seemed low in acid and the finish was hot and harsh.  One glass of this wine would satisfy me so a bottle would last several days.  15.2% alcohol and $28.

The final wine was a 2008 Twenty Rows Cabernet from Napa.  Medium color in the glass the nose was cherries and dry, dusty plums.  The fruit flavor was bright and loaded with medium dark cherries and a little blueberry.  Good acid, but the tannin in this wine was a little raw.  The finish had some nice length to it but the last taste in the mouth seemed to be that harsh tannin.  14.4% alcohol and $21.

The bottom line for me on these tastings is that I enjoy them, but my preference is still to sit down with dinner and two bottles of wine and see how they evolve over the course of the meal.    My mind still gravitates toward food friendly wines, and even though some of the huge wines are well made and exactly what the winemaker intended, I tend to be put off by them.  Then again, I'm no professional - just someone who likes wine.

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