Archive for ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’

February 23, 2019

Bleasdale Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015

There is something about Australian Cab Sauv that’s never 100% as good as you hope regardless of the price.  Shiraz? Out of the park.  Cab Sauv, hit and miss.  This doesn’t miss, but it’s no home run.

 

The Bleasdale scored high with Halliday and we’re not in disagreement, particularly the very palatable tannins, which in Napa would probably choke, and the predominance of cherry and black currant.  Smooth and decent with red meats but also without the depth the label proclaims.  Order it in a restaurant.

 

Price: $18 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Good value but not great value.

December 30, 2018

Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014

If this turns out to be the last post of 2018 all I can say is we went out with a bomb.  Wowza.  This is some hugely satisfying red.  Powerhouse yes but no one two punch.  It’s all containment, structure, refinement, like a Mies van der Rohe modernist tower.  We were hard pressed to find any fault with its command, how it encompasses Cab Sauv without trying to impress.  Plain and simple awesome.

 

There are powerhouse BC reds in this price range, such as the Hypothesis (which we love) and stellar kin over at Mission Hill, Seven Stones, Vieux Pin and many others.  However, for the coin, nothing holds a candle.

 

Price: High 50s but with a case discount $50.  So, you know, not your Tuesday night red.

 

Market Liquidity: Restores your faith in Napa.

November 6, 2018

Graceland Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016

Something else altogether.  Wrapped up in tissue as if swaddled and then labelled like a candle from a religious supply store, the wine inside is anything but deceptive; it’s the essence of a decent glass of red.

 

My mother used to take blackberries from a bush along the fence in the lane, when I was a kid, macerate them, and squeeze out the sweetest, darkest, densest cordial imaginable.  To appreciate it, you had to drink it carefully and with hesitation, no more than a tablespoon at a time.  Some years, it was so rich, we mixed it with soda.  This wine, which just begs to be sipped, very, very slowly, is an eloquent turn on cordial.  Creepily addictive and wickedly good but pointless in large doses.

 

We’ve tasted the Graceland in previous vintages and had been neither here nor there, but this smoky, intense and luscious red is a keeper.  It oozes warmth and comfort and has none of the brass band of a Napa CS.

 

Price: $31.50 at Everything Wine.

 

Market Liquidity: It will float you across the river Styx.

August 22, 2018

Penfolds Max’s Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015

(I left the flashy red label on; we are over and through with glam labels, but you can always tear it off and still have a reasonable presentation at the dinner table.)

 

It’s been a while since we corked a wine this forward, assertive and confident.  Less like a Wimbledon semi this is a Davis Cup final; it clamors to be heard and in so doing you can barely hear yourself.  On a scale of one to 10 in subtlety we score this Liberace in concert crossed with Cher at the Oscars.  While it has legs, Usain Bolt legs, we opened our 2015 in 2018 as a sort of witness to things that may.  It may.  Just, do you have the patience?

 

While still (much too) young, and worthy of at least another five years on the down low, it is eminently drinkable in that forward Cab Sauv way.  If this is your thing, rock solid granite determined super masculine Cab Sauvs, then this is really your thing.  Reviews talk about the nuance and balance which to us were not predominant; more like static and assured but monochrome, with mere echoes of oak.  An astringent dark cherry crossed with licorice root on the palate and an earthy finish give it fullness; it has a lot of heft and I guess is “mouth delicious” and delightful but not as a sipper.  A whole bottle over dinner in one sitting feels a bit like a whole movie of just the car chase in The French Connection, no plot.  Yet who in YVR would be serving this by the glass?

 

Dry and red meat friendly and decent value from one of the most prestigious Oz vineyards but for better or worse not our cup of tea.

 

Price: $32 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: In the alternative, may I suggest a shot of testosterone.

January 19, 2018

Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014

Ah Margaret River.  A retirement pipe dream.

 

Young and fruity and juicy and vibrant.  This is a wine that needs some time, it’s just oozing potential.  We were unsure at first but with a meatball dinner it was sensationally food friendly.  On the initial mouthful it’s assertive and even disappointing but with a bit of air, with a few conscientious sips, it delivers, as VF almost always does.  The oak does not dominate, and the tannins are hardly balanced despite the reviews, but this is a joy to discover.  Like the antithesis of a California Cab Sauv, with none of the weight or drudge or 18% alcohol, it does have the élan of a ride in Tomorrowland.  Zippy and zesty and alluring.  Buy it now for Christmas dinner 2020.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Price: $30 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: A bottle of promise.

July 10, 2017

Seven Stones Speaking Rock Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012

A big and brash if not charming red with the heft for something substantial, say a bloody T-bone or a medium rare rack of lamb.

 

Cocoa nibs, licorice, Ribena, assertive tannins and a bracing coconut-tanning lotion finish. This is a wine with some serious legs (Ginger Rogers meets Cyd Charisse for a threesome with Fred Astaire) and, for those who don’t like the ethereal nimbleness of a fine Pinot, a wonderful counterpoint.  As much as we liked it, there were times we pictured a mallet falling on Wile E Coyote’s head.

 

Price: $35 at the vineyard in 2016.

 

Market Liquidity: If you dug it out of a peat bog in 2030 it would probably still charm.

June 25, 2017

Undurraga TH “Terroir Hunter” Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013

Bold.  Brazen.  Beautiful.  You could cut this with a knife.  It’s heavy and full and deeply nuanced and HEAVENLY; please excuse the excitement.  It’s a heavyweight in the most primal, decadent and meaty sense.

 

Sometimes you just need something assertive and monumentally Cab Sauv and this is so perfectly present and incredibly tasty, who cares if it has legs and we opened it too soon?  It was sheer pleasure for a moment.

 

Price: Gifted.  But I sourced the TH Shiraz in the 30s.

 

Market Liquidity: Like the Rod Stewart track, it did not last, it did not last till the weekend.

May 18, 2017

Mission Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014

I went into this with a cynical sneer.  It’s been a long time since I purely enjoyed Mission Hill.  I find the breadth of their output like Mercedes Benz, trying to be all things to all people without just focusing on doing less, but very, very well.  Well I was surprised.

 

This has a lush, jammy, soft and comforting dark fruit hit on the tongue with a gentle leathery finish.  It drinks like many California reds but slightly less alcoholic and not quite the affront you might expect.  Professionals use words like generous and on a wine like this; extremely easy to the last drop.  You can pick it up from the vineyard for under $30 and on that note alone, highly recommended.

 

Price: Gifted.

 

Market Liquidity: Not every Stephen King is a hit, but when he hits they are big hits.

April 27, 2017

Clos des Fous Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013

An evocative wine with legs which, while drinking beautifully now, would benefit from some time and quiet.  Has a softness that is lighter and more ethereal than the Oz and California Cab Sauvs, some chocolate covered cherry on the palate, a talcum soft mouth, and finishes with vanilla alongside an astringent swab of alcohol.  Up and down and over and about without a clear trajectory.

 

Interesting, provocative, nuanced.

 

Price: $33 at Liberty. ($10 cheaper in Saskatchewan.  Which is, I might add, also in Canada.)

 

Market Liquidity: Sudoku in a bottle.

Spectacular with a homemade meat pie braised in Guinness

April 25, 2017

Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015 & Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay, 2014

These are easy to drink.  They are easy to find.  They are not too expensive.  And when Gismondi gave the MCC Chardonnay a 91 point rating with the note that it’s probably the best value $20 bottle of wine going, BC Liquor was quick to ribbon the necks with the pointster adornment.

 

Glass half full: They are drinkable.  (Although the medallions on the Cab Sauv, which end in 2012, seem to speak of a laxity at the vineyard.)  They aren’t expensive.  They are approachable, food friendly, and great social bottles.

 

Glass half empty: They are totally without endurance.  You will have forgotten them as you finish your glass, not the bottle.  Great in a restaurant, given the markups, but you can do far better at home.  They are like a wild card in a grand slam; all promise.

 

Price: Around $20 for either, give or take the whims of the “sale makers” at BCL.

 

Market Liquidity: Glass half full.