Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sempre Vive 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon

Since I loved both the 2006 and 2003 vintages of Romeo Vineyards Sempre Vive Cabernet Sauvignon I jumped at the chance to pick up a few bottles of their 1998 vintage.    What a radically different wine it was from those other two vintages and what a radically different wine it was from day one to day two.

Despite being described as  having "dark flavors" the first day the wine was harsh and sharp, even with an hour in a decanter.  The color more resembled Burgundy than Cabernet Sauvignon.  The flavors were bright, red cherries with a good dose of stems.  Both the tannin and the acid were strong.  Ripe or dark are not two words I would ever use to describe this wine.

That said the wine improved greatly by the time a small steak came off the grill.  The acid and the tannin were fine with the beef flavors and I enjoyed the wine.  The finish seemed a little short as well.  The problem was just that it was radically different from both its description and the other two vintages with which I was familiar.  The second half of the wine stayed in the bottle under a vacuum seal until the next evening.

The next evening the remains of the steak were sliced and served at room temperature with some mustard and a flavored mayonnaise, sliced fresh tomatoes with olive oil and salt and toasted, rustic bread.  I poured the second half of the wine into the decanter and then into the glass.  The color was still light but the twenty four hours with some air exposure really helped this wine.  The cherry flavors seemed to marry better with the reduced sense of tannin and acid.  There was more depth to the wine and the finish was smoother and longer.  In short - it took that long for this wine to come together. 

It is still very different from the other two vintages, but it's a wine I liked.  I think it would go more with chicken from the grill rather than beef, but it was a good wine.  There are two more of these in the cellar so over the next couple of months I'll drink them and look for bottle variation.

1998 Romeo Vineyards Sempre Vive Cabernet Sauvignon.  $20.  13.6% alcohol.  256 cases.

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