MC4 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

I was incredibly excited about the opportunity to taste MC4 Cabernet Sauvignon for the first time.  This ultra-small production winery produces Napa Valley Cabernet from a one-acre vineyard located in St. Helena.  The vineyard is farmed organically and sits on a picturesque hillside on the west side of the valley.

Martin & Croshaw Vineyard in St. Helena (courtesy of MC4 Wine)
Martin & Croshaw Vineyard in St. Helena (courtesy of MC4 Wine)

MC4 adheres to a minimalist winemaking philosophy.  The wine is fermented with native yeasts and made without the use of new oak.  These philosophies and techniques are somewhat rare in Napa so the wine really shines among the over-manipulated Cabernets that seem to flood the marketplace.

MC4 Cabernet Sauvignon
MC4 Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2013 vintage of MC4 Cabernet is just a baby but already showing tons of potential.  After decanting, the wine offers beautiful aromatics of blackberry, red cassis, and black pepper.  The palate is smooth with lavish tastes of cherry, violets, plum, and black pepper along with nuances of oak.  This is a well-balanced Cabernet that truly highlights the beautiful fruit and terroir of the vineyard.  A Napa Cabernet worthy of a spot in your cellar!  ($68, 14.5% alcohol, 96 cases produced)

*Media Sample

Continue Reading

Cabernet Values for the Holidays!

A lot of people struggle to find a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to bring to a holiday gathering that is well-priced and actually tastes good!  Here are two different styles of Cabernet, 2012 Rickshaw Wines Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Parducci True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, that are both great values!

2012 Rickshaw Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

Rickshaw Wines Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec, and 4% Cabernet Franc from California.  Smooth tastes of raspberries and cassis mingle with notes of plum and coffee.  Minimal intervention in the winemaking process allow the pure tastes of the grapes to shine through.  An excellent Cabernet for the price! (13.8% alcohol, $15)

2012 Parducci True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Parducci True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Parducci True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Parducci’s Mendocino County True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 5% Syrah that opens with aromas of dark berries, dark cherries, tobacco.  The palate is medium-bodied with tastes of cassis, dark chocolate, and smokey tobacco along with hints of vanilla.  Balanced in alcohol and not over-oaked, this Cabernet is very food friendly! (13.5% alcohol, $30)

*Media Sample

Continue Reading

A Great Everyday Bordeaux – 2011 Chateau La Rame Bordeaux Rouge

It is inevitable that I will have a glass of wine or two with dinner during the week.  It’s really nice when my mid-week wine is delicious, food-friendly, and priced under $15.  This is exactly the case with 2011 Chateau La Rame Bordeaux.  Chateau La Rame is among the oldest and most renowned properties in the Sainte Croix du Mont appellation of Bordeaux.  The vineyards for this bottle are at the base of the hillside vineyards and are composed of sand, limestone, and clay.

2011 Chateau La Rame Bordeaux
2011 Chateau La Rame Bordeaux

Technical Stuff

A blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet from Bordeaux.  13% alcohol and retailing for around $13.  For more info, visit the importer Rosenthal Wine Merchant.

Tasting Notes

Pouring a dark ruby color in the glass, this Bordeaux begins with earthy aromas of red cherries, tobacco, and spice.  The palate is medium-bodied, smooth, and offers straight-forward tastes of red fruit and spice.  An easy drinking, mid-week wine that will definitely help you make it to Friday!

Continue Reading

2012 Caymus 40th Anniversary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

A couple of weeks ago, a group of wine bloggers and wine lovers got together on Twitter to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Caymus Vineyards Cabernet with Total Wine and More.  Caymus Vineyards began in 1971 when Charles Wagner and his wife Lorna Belle Glos Wagner asked their son, Chuck Wagner, if he wanted to join them in starting a winery.  The Wagner family decided in advance to sell their Napa Valley property if Chuck refused their offer, which he instead accepted.  This was the start of Caymus Vineyards, which is still 100% owned by the Wagner Family.

The Wagners produced their first Cabernet in 1972, so the 2012 vintage celebrates the 40th anniversary of this iconic Cabernet.   I joined in on the Twitter tasting, uncorked a bottle of 2012 Caymus 40th Anniversary Cabernet, and fired up a grill full of steaks!

2012 Caymus 40th Anniversary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Caymus 40th Anniversary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Tasting Notes

2012 Caymus 40th Anniversary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is deep reddish-purple in color.  Rich aromas leap out of the glass and include notes of cassis, blackberries, anise, and warm spices.  On the palate, there are intense flavors of black fruit, oak, dark chocolate, herbs, and spices.  The wine also has ripe yet smooth tannins and soft acidity.  I think fans of big California Cabernet will enjoy this vintage of Caymus.  This wine is still a baby; if you can wait a few years, you will be rewarded!

14.6% alcohol.  Retails for $60/bottle.  For more info, vist Caymus Vineyards.

*Media Sample

Continue Reading

Charles Krug Winery BrandLive Virtual Tasting!

A couple of weeks ago, I joined in on a BrandLive virtual tasting hosted by Charles Krug Winery.  The tasting featured 4 new releases from the winery – the 2013 Limited Release Estate Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Napa Valley Merlot, 2011 Family Reserve ‘Generations’, and 2011 Family Reserve ‘Howell Mountain’ Cabernet Sauvignon.

Charles Krug Wine

The red releases mark a pretty cool milestone for the winery,  as 2011 is Charles Krug’s 150th vintage as well as the inaugural vintage of their Family Reserve ‘Howell Mountain’ Cabernet.   We were also lucky enough to be joined by Peter Mondavi Jr.  and had the opportunity to ask him questions through the interactive BrandLive platform.

The tasting was a great experience and the wines were really well-made.  Here are my tasting notes from the event:

Charles Krug 2013 Limited Release Estate Sauvignon Blanc

Beautifully aromatic with notes of tropical fruit and peach.  The palate offers a creamy texture with tastes of citrus and peach.  Noticeable acidity helps keep this wine alive and refreshing…a great wine for warm weather! (13.6% alcohol, $35)

Charles Krug 2011 Napa Valley Merlot

Pleasant aromas of dark fruit with herbal undertones.  The palate features dark berries, tobacco, and dark chocolate entwined with hints of oak.  There is also a bit of a lift from the acid that takes the flavors in the wine to another level.  California Merlot is generally not my thing but this bottle was pretty easy to sip! (14% alcohol, $25)

Charles Krug 2011 Family Reserve ‘Generations’ 

Opening with layered aromas of earth, dark fruit, cocoa, and minerals.  The palate is nicely structured yet not overbearing with tastes of cassis and blackberry.  There are also hints of bell pepper, minerals, and oak. Complex and balanced…a really nice wine! (13.9% alcohol, $50)

Charles Krug 2011 Family Reserve ‘Howell Mountain’ Cabernet Sauvignon

This Cabernet begins with enticing aromas of dark fruit, oak, and spice.  Soft flavors of dark cherry and blackberry meet your palate along with dark chocolate, herbs, and spice  Surprisingly balanced and graceful for a Napa Cabernet.  Would love to be able to taste how this evolves over time! (13.7% alcohol, $75)

*Media Samples

Continue Reading

Cimarone 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

When I received a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Cimarone, I was definitely excited to pour myself a glass.  Cimarone has never produced Cabernet before so I would be among some of the first to try it.  I am not a fan of traditional, big, oaky California Cabs so I am happy to say Cimarone’s version doesn’t fit this stereotype.  It is 100% Cabernet with 14.5% alcohol and it retails for right under $40. 

Cimarone Cabernet

Tasting Notes

Cimarone’s Cabernet pours a dark garnet color in the glass.  It opens up with earthy aromas of cherries and clove.  The palate has an earthiness to it as well.  There are tastes of leather, clove, and cherries with nuances of oak and a long, spicy finish.  This wine is a bit unruly but will definitely age well.  Grab a bottle, hold on for a year or two and you will reap the benefits!

My Wine Rating – B+

Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair this Cabernet with short ribs, pan roasted veal chops or pizza topped with mushrooms. 

www.Cimarone.com

*Media Sample

Continue Reading

Sheldon Wines 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

When I reach for wine, a glass of Cabernet is generally not my first choice because I am not a huge fan of oak-filled, big alcohol wines.  When I arrived at Sheldon Wines in Santa Rosa last week, my stereotypes disappeared and my eyes were opened to their elegant, balanced 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Sheldon Wines is a micro-winery started by husband and wife Tobe and Dylan Sheldon.  They are awesome, laid back people who will warmly welcome you to have fun with them in their tasting room.  Their wines are sustainably farmed with minimal intervention in the wine making process.  The results are bright, graceful wines that reflect their passion for remaining true to the grape!

Tasting Notes

Sheldon’s Cabernet from Sonoma County has a bouquet of red fruit, tobacco and delicate spices.  Layers of flavors emerge from the palate.  There are notes of plum, tobacco, cedar, and black pepper with floral undertones.  There are also hints of licorice and currants. Graceful and balanced…I might just have to drink Cabernet more often! (13.2% alcohol, $32)

www.SheldonWines.com

Continue Reading

The Seeker 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

I am wrapping up my tasting series of the The Seeker wines with their 2011 Cabernet.  This wine comes from the Central Valley of Chile, which is known to produce some great values.  It is 100% Cabernet and has 13.5% alcohol.  The smooth, balanced palate makes it my top pick from The Seeker line. 

Tasting Notes

Aromas of plums, blueberries, and spice draw you into this rich Cabernet.  There are tastes of blackberries, black currants, and anise with hints of sweet caramel.  Silky tannins and a juicy finish round out this delicious Cabernet.  ($14)

My Wine Rating – B+

Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with sirloin, veal chops, or dark chocolate.

*Media Sample

Continue Reading

Cabernet Day Wrap-Up!

While I didn’t have a full evening to celebrate #CabernetDay (I was stuck sitting in an accounting class!), I did uncork two bottles over the course of the night.  I went with two Cabernets at complete different price points and decided that BOTH wines are great VALUES.  Here are the tasting notes for each wine.

Jordan 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

I definitely set myself up for a good night as Jordan has consistently been one of my favorite, moderately priced Cabernets.   The nose has a bouquet of cassis with a hint of oak.  The palate features sophisticated flavors of plum, blackberry, pepper, and a touch of vanilla.  The tannins are round and the finish is lengthy.  Jordan’s 2007 Cabernet is lighter and more elegant than a lot of other Cabernets from the region.  I honestly think that for $45, this is a hard wine to beat.  I have tasted it against California Cabs that cost twice as much and Jordan often upsets the higher priced competitors.  (A-, 13.5%)

Columbia Crest H3 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a great, everyday Cabernet from Washington state.  Aromas of toasted oak, cherries, and tobacco lead into an earthy palate with tastes of dark berries, caramel, and vanilla.  This straight-forward wine delivers in price ($12-14) and flavor.  Grab a bottle and enjoy any day of the week!  (B+, 14.5%)

Continue Reading

Napa Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

Grill, grill, grill…that is all we do during the summer and I am quite happy about it!  I received a bottle of Cabernet from Napa Cellars and was pretty excited since it seems lately that white wine and rose have been abundant (not that I am complaining because I do enjoy both!).  This wine is a perfect complement for grilled meats and priced well for a California Cabernet!

About the Wine- From the Winery

Napa Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet from Napa Valley.  It has 14.1% alcohol and retails for $22.  For more information visit www.NapaCellars.com.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

This Cabernet has aromas of cedar, blackberries, and cassis.  At first sip, your palate is hit with intense spices.  Tastes of anise, pepper, and nutmeg come alive on your tongue.  The spices are followed with rich, dark berries and lingering cocoa.  A really enjoyable Napa Cabernet that won’t break the bank!

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair with grilled steaks, bison burgers, or dark chocolate. 

*Media Sample

Continue Reading