Archive for the 'Cabernet Sauvignon' Category

David Stone Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

David Stone Vineyards Cabernet SauvignonDavid Stone Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Modesto, California, $5.50 for 750ml, 12% Alc.
Red Wine

I would have never have guessed that this is a Cabernet Sauvignon.  Ever.  After trying it and then re-trying it, I checked the label just to make sure that I was not seeing things.  Nope.  It most definitely identified itself as a Cab.  How curious….

David Stone’s Cabernet Sauvignon is not what one might expect out of a Cabernet Sauvignon.  For starters, it is slightly sweet — not like a dessert wine, but rather like some Spanish or German reds I’ve tasted before.  Secondly, it is very low in tannins, which is really one of the more defining characteristics of most Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve ever had in the past.  Thirdly, to me at least, it simply does not taste like a Cabernet Sauvignon — it is just too mild, too sweet and, for lack of a better descriptor, too round.

In fact, the alcohol content and modest level of acidity (very modest, mind you) are the only things holding it together, convincing me that I have not just ingested some strange concoction of plain ol’ grape juice.  Not that I found it unpleasant; rather, just unexpected and slightly baffling.

Bottom line: If you are in the mood for a Cabernet Sauvignon, then you will probably be disappointed by David Stone Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you simply like to try new wine and are looking for something affordable, mild and red, then you might have stumbled onto a bargain!

wine’s website:  couldn’t find

Fetzer Valley Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon

Fetzer Cabernet SauvignonFetzer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2006, Valley Oaks, Mendocino CA, $8.99 for 750 ml
(Red Wine)

This is my new favorite wine under $10.00.  It has a depth to it that really sets it apart from other wines reviewed so far.  In fact, I liked the Fetzer Cabernet Sauvignon so much that I also tried the Fetzer Merlot and Fetzer Pinot Noir.  While both were tasty, neither held the combination of deep, earthy taste combined with a nice bite of acidity and the pucker of tannins that the Cabernet Sauvignon offers.  (But, both the Merlot and the Pinot are still definitely worth a try!)

The Fetzer Cabernet Sauvignon has an unusual, rolling flavor to it that really distinguishes itself from comparably priced beverages (and I’m sure more expensive ones, too).  I tried to put a finger on it, but I’m not sure how to describe it.  It’s medium to high on both tannin and acidity levels (which I actually prefer) but there is also a deep, earthy, rich, vanilla-oakiness that creates dimension and adds contrast and balance to the sharp bite of acid and the drying effect of the tannins.    In short, it’s really, really good!

Bottom line?  Snatch this one up.  It’s delicious.

wine’s website:  http://www.fetzer.com

the Little Penguin Cabernet Sauvignon

Little Penguin Cabernet Sauvignonthe Little Penguin Cabernet Sauvignon

2006 SE Australia, $5.50 for 750 ml

(Red Wine)

The Little Penguin Shiraz was such a pleasant surprise that I thought I would give their Cabernet Sauvignon a run for the money. Plus, I like thinking of cute little penguins wobbling around in hand-knit sweaters somewhere in New Zealand (see Little Penguin Shiraz post). It makes me happy.

True to Cabernet form, I detected that pleasantly sour, blackcurrant flavor and a nice acidic bite. The tannins were a bit lower that I would have expected from a Cabernet and I discovered this with some level of disappointment. I’ve grown to enjoy a nice dose of puckering tannins in my Cabernet Sauvignon.

While the flavor was pleasant, I preferred the denser-almost chewy-Little Penguin Shiraz to their Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet was less complex and the flavor was of a sharper, less rolling-deep sensation.

Bottom line? I’m still KO’d by the Little Penguin. While the Shiraz is my favorite so far, the Cabernet also offers good value for the price.

wine’s website: www.thelittlepenguin.com

Liberty Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

Liberty Creek Cabernet SauvignonLiberty Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
(no vintage) California $8.00 for 1.5 L
(Red Wine)

I’ve tried to think of something great to say about Liberty Creek’s Cabernet Sauvignon.But, I just can’t.

It’s not horrible; it’s just not that good.For a Cabernet, this wine is missing some umph.

It’s higher in acidity than a lot of Cabernet and rather thin-bodied.It tastes like the wine has been watered down a bit, and the tannins left a lot to be desired as well.In fact, I had trouble locating them.

The overall flavor of this Cabernet was a bit one-dimensional and I was left feeling like someone forgot to put half of the wine’s flavor into the bottle.Does that make sense?

Bottom line, Liberty Creek Cabernet Sauvignon is not a repulsive wine and for the price, some might want to at least give it a try. But, if you are desiring a layered and full-flavored experience, don’t take a dip in Liberty Creek.

Website: Update: At the time this review was written, no website could be found.  A reader has since informed me that one now exists.  It is LibertyCreekWine.com

Delicato Cabernet Sauvignon

Delicato
Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Manteca, CA $5.50 for 750 ml
(Red Wine)

The Delicato Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium-bodied wine imbued with blackcurrant flavor.

For the price, I found this vino to be a pretty good deal.

While it doesn’t have the rolling layers that many other Cabernet Sauvignon offer, I found the Delicato Cab to be pleasant and a little less demanding, too. The flavors were smooth enough to offer the versatility of a wine to be sipped alone or with dinner.

That said, I’ve had other similarly priced Cabernet Sauvignon (think: Little Penguin or Barefoot) that I enjoyed better.

Bottom line: For the price alone, the Delicato Cabernet Sauvignon is worth a try. However, given similarly priced options that I find to be more complex and interesting, I don’t have a compelling reason to buy this again.

wine’s website: www.delicato.com

JackaRoo Big Red (Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz blend)

Jackaroo Big RedJackaRoo Big Red
2003, SE Australia, $7.35 for 750 ml
(49% Cab, 44% Shiraz, 7% Merlot)
(Red Wine)

According to my Google search, “Jackaroo” is an Australian term for an apprentice on a cattle station or ranch…. Well, that makes me want to say something cutesy involving Australian slang and barbecue, but I shall refrain from doing so. You’re welcome.

In short, “Big Red” is a good description for this JackaRoo wine. While it doesn’t have a lot of depth, it is full of easygoing, juicy, round flavors, and it also has a good dose of tannins that save the wine from simply tasting like a fat, fermented grape.

The tasting notes cite flavors of blackberry, spicy aromas and a hint of vanilla oak. The Big Red did have a plump, berryness that I can see described as blackberry, and I did get the vanilla oak flavor (more oak than vanilla), but honestly, I would never describe the aroma of this wine as “spicy.” It just isn’t.

While I would have said that this wine was okay (not great, but okay), unfortunately, my Big Red had an undercurrent of unpleasant spoiled, nutty flavors that tasted as though it had not been properly sealed. In other words, it tasted oxidized. I don’t know if this is a problem with all JackaRoo Big Reds, or just a flaw in the bottling that I happened upon.

Bottom line? While the JackaRoo has potential, the flavors I found were ruined by the funky, old taste of oxidization. For the price, I have found other wines that have a bit more depth and taste much fresher. Sorry, apprentice. I think you’re fired.

wine’s website: couldn’t find

Fish Eye Cabernet Sauvignon

Fish Eye Cabernet SauvignonFish Eye Cabernet Sauvignon

2004 Ripon, California. $7.70 for 750 ml
(Red Wine)

This Cabernet reminded me very much of the Coastal Ridge Cab I’ve reviewed earlier.

Except this time, alas, I did not smell any lavender. (Which I kind of liked about the Coastal Ridge Cab.) And, this time, it wasn’t so much an oxidized smell/flavor that bothered me as it was the hint of rotting vegetable undertones.

Suffice it to say that the Fish Eye Cabernet Sauvignon had some nice, round, berry-smooth flavors and was milder on the tannins than a lot of Cabernet. While it was a pleasant wine to sip, the vegetable flavors did interfere with an otherwise pleasing quaff.

Bottom Line? Pass it up for a better quality Cab sans vegetables at a comparable price.

wine’s website: www.fisheyewines.com

Marcus James Cabernet Sauvignon

Marcus James Cabernet SauvignonMarcus James Cabernet Sauvignon

2006. Mendoza, Argentina $4.25 for 750 ml
(Red Wine)

I’ve had the Marcus James Cabernet Sauvignon before and thought it was a good deal. A gal would be hard pressed to find a better tasting wine for the price. Plus, it’s fun to drink something from Argentina.

“Inexpensive is great,” you may say, “but what about the taste?”

Yes, well, this is where I get a bit confused. I truly remember this wine being pretty tasty on another occasion. And this time, I still thought it had a nice flavor with a good balance of tannins and acidity. But I also found it had a disagreeable sweet/sour twang to it that I suspect is acetic acid. This flavor really distracted me from the other more pleasing layers to a point where I did not enjoy it on its own.

Now, I hate dismissing inexpensive wine so easily. It seems downright undemocratic. So, I tried it again the next day, thinking maybe the flavors would be different now that the bottle had been opened and recorked. While a sip confirmed that the acetic acid flavor was still there, to my surprise, I found that the unpleasant flavor more or less disappeared when I sipped it along with my dinner. In its place was a full, blackcurrant flavor with a pleasant bite of acidity-but not of the acetic acid variety. See? The sacrifices I make to give a thorough and fair review sometimes pay off!

Bottom line? While it wouldn’t be listed as one of my favorites, for the price, it’s definitely worth a try. And if you do decide to try it, make sure you’ve got some rich food to go along with it.

Coastal Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon

Coastal Ridge Cabernet SauvignonCoastal Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon

2004. California. $12.00 for 1.5L
(Red Wine)

You know how I said I haven’t met many Cabernet Sauvignons that I didn’t like?  Well, I think I just did. Or maybe, almost just did. I mean, it’s a pretty close call….

For some reason, I expected this wine to taste similar to a Barefoot Cabernet. As it turns out, not so much.

The color is a dark, thick red to almost brownish-purple and the smell is of dark berries and something … vegetably? At first, I also thought it smelled a tiny bit like lavender, which really impressed me. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled a hint of lavender before, but I honestly thought I detected it here. It was nice and it made me happy.

Anyway, the vegetably smell continued to bother me, so I took a sip.

Makes sense, right?

At first, the taste was okay, but as I had a few more sips, that vegetable flavor really started to come through and overtake the fruity, lavendery pleasantness. The vegetable taste was like rotting green veggies…. Yep, that’s what I tasted.

Also—and this might be tied in to the vegetable flavor—it tasted like it had been accidentally oxidized. As in, it tasted like the wine had been left open for a few days before someone decided to seal it with a cork. When I realized this, I had one of those surreal, creative-fiction experiences where in my mind, I saw this poor bottle of wine sitting in the bottom of a vintner’s cellar somewhere in Napa California, uncorked and shivering in a dark corner one Monday morning. Along comes the minimum wage employee* who had left work early the Friday before and sees the neglected bottle of wine. “Crud!” says the employee (or something akin to such language), “I totally forgot to seal that one.” Looking around and confirming no witnesses are present, the employee stealthily pops a cork in the wine, seals it with foil and scoots it into the appropriate bin. For him, all is well with the world.

Well, that bottle of wine made it to my living room where I sat on the couch, mouthful of vegetable with hints of lavender, and witnessed this injustice in my mind’s eye. Employee person in Napa, hear this: Karma.

The reason why I can’t say I just hated this wine is because I did enjoy the other fruity, lavender-like flavors. And I have to be fair: twelve bucks for a 1.5 liter of wine is a good deal and you can’t expect Cabernet nirvana. However, the vegetable/oxidized sensation bothered me to a point where I think it actually turned my stomach a little, but this is the thing: I was tasting the Coastal Ridge Cabernet with another person who didn’t seem to detect this less-than-pleasing nuance. He said he thought it tasted pretty good.

I looked him over closely and determined that he didn’t appear to be suffering from a cold, so I have to pay his sense of taste and smell at least some semblance of respect.

Bottom line: I didn’t really care for this wine. However, seeing the Napa employee was kind of fun, so if you’re bored …

*Disclaimer: Referring to a “minimum wage employee” is not snobbery on antiwinesnob’s part; creators of antiwinesnob have themselves spent the majority of their working lives as minimum wage employees and so can relate this vision as a testament to their own experiences while within that paradigm. Furthermore, aniwinesnob has no actual knowledge of the goings-on at any wineries located in Napa and has related their creative vision for entertainment purposes only.

Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon

Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet SauvignonWoodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

2006 California. $12.00 for 1.5 Liters (Red Wine)

I feel I must disclose that I haven’t found very many Cabernet Sauvignons that I didn’t like.

I know; I spread myself too thin.

Emotional issues aside, I have to say that one of the things I like most about Cabernet Sauvignon is that its got a wonderful tannin presence that really grips your tongue and makes you notice it. You can’t just casually sip most Cabernet Sauvignons and gaze vaguely at the bottle, wondering what exactly it is you’re drinking. No. A good Cabernet Sauvignon makes you pause after the first sip and give it a little consideration.

Now, I need to be honest: I tried this Cabernet a few weeks ago with no food at all and found that I had to give it too much consideration as the flavors and tannins were a bit overpowering. At that time, I made a note that this might be the case because I did not have any food to go along with it.

Not one to be deterred, I tried the Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon again, but this time, with some cold cuts and cheese.

Before taking a sip, I gave it a good sniff to see if I could distinguish any particular aromas. I was hoping I could impose an impressive soliloquy on its nose of smelt rubber and hints of durian or something. Alas, all I could really distinguish was a dark, fruity aroma wafting from the glass, along with a slight burn of alcohol.

I took a sip. The taste was thick in tannins and deep. Maybe just a little peppery and with a zing of mild to medium acidity. I also noticed a general flavor of black currants.

Overall, this time, I thought the Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon was pleasantly layered and complex and went very well with my tasty snacks. It had a presence to it that one generally encounters in a bit pricier wines, I think. And, it didn’t have that vegetable smell and flavor that I’ve unfortunately encountered in other similarly priced Cabs.

It was dark and bold and … firm.

Bottom line? The Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely a great wine to go along with meats and cheeses, but I wouldn’t recommend it for sipping without any accompaniments. The rich flavors and tannins need something to cling to and might otherwise overpower your tongue if it’s all by it’s lonesome self.

So, give it some company!

wine’s website: www.woodbridgewines.com

Papio Cabernet Sauvignon

Papio Cabernet SauvignonPapio Cabernet Sauvignon

California. $10.83 for 1.5 Liters
(Red Wine)

If you want some inexpensive wine for a party and don’t want to make your friends run gagging into the streets, this is a good find. In fact, I think a party is where this wine belongs as I would probably describe it as a sociable drink.

The Papio Cabernet Sauvignon is kind of like a polite guest: pleasant and enjoyable and without any extreme, attention-seeking qualities. It’s rounder, sweeter and gentler than most Cabernet Sauvignon and actually, much more like a Merlot. It has a nice mellow cherry flavor, but nothing too demanding. No striking tannins or acidity here.

See what I mean? Good party drink.

wine’s website: www.papiowines.com

Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon

Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon[yellow tail] Cabernet Sauvignon

Southeast Australia. $7.00 for 750 ml (Red Wine)

I really like the Yellow Tail Cab.

It has a thick, round, blackcurrant flavor that is also (at least to me) slightly smoky … in a good way. I thought the tannin flavor and feel was well balanced; the wine has a smooth, deep flavor but with enough zing and grip in it to keep things interesting.

And, best of all, this wine is versatile. It’s very pleasant to sip all on its own, or to be paired with your favorite tapas.

Bottom line? This is a tasty and friendly Cabernet at a great price.

wine’s website: www.yellowtailwine.com

Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon

Barefoot Cabernet SauvignonBarefoot Cabernet Sauvignon

(no vintage) California. $5.50 for 750 ml
(Red Wine)

This wine has won a lot of awards and I can understand why.

For the price alone, there are obvious reasons to appreciate its existence. But when you taste the rich, smooth round flavor with just enough kick in it from tannins and acidity (have you checked out my article on this subject?), you’ll be a little surprised that so much flavor was condensed into a bottle for such little cost.

I thought the fruit flavors where pleasant but I had trouble singling out any particular fruit on my own. Thanks to the bottle’s tasting notes, however, I can tell you that it has been described as “jammy” with “wild berry” and “currant” flavors with hints of oak and clove. Hmm. “Jammy” is usually used as an insult in wine to describe a lack of structure….

In any case, I did get the fruity berry and currant flavors, but in regards to it being jammy, I thought there was enough acidity mixed with it to keep the flavors from falling flat.

I also caught a little of the oak flavor, which makes sense since it was most likely aged in an oak barrel.

But cloves? Not so much for me, anyway.

Bottom line? I’ll be getting this one again.

wine’s website: www.barefootwine.com

3 Blind Moose Cabernet Sauvignon

3 Blind Moose Cabernet Sauvignon

California (Woodbridge) $8.89 for 750 ml
(Red Wine)

Some people call me cheap, but I prefer, frugal and unpretentious. So, for me, almost 9 bucks for a 750 ml bottle of wine was on the steeper end of things. Shut up and don’t laugh at me. I’m being serious.

My personal scruples being set aside, I thought the price of 3 Blind Moose Cabernet Sauvignon still reasonable enough to be included on this website. And, its got a cool name.

So how was it?

Well, I thought it smelled very strong of alcohol with an almost peppery scent. That said, the smell was pleasant and strong.

The taste was tannin-laden with what I can only describe as a sour black currant flavor. Now, I know I keep using black currant in my descriptions for (mostly) Cabernets, but the truth is, it really does taste like black currants. To me, much more so than other berry or fruit flavors. In 3 Blind Moose’s case however, it tasted like sour black currants; as in, slightly sour or bitter or unripe.

The website’s tasting notes describe the wine as having “flavors of dark berry, plum, chocolate, clove and spice”.

I don’t think I caught many of these unless, by dark berries, they mean black currants. In that case, yes, I scored a point. And maybe I sensed some plum and spice (I did detect a peppery smell at first).

Unfortunately, I really didn’t catch a hint of chocolate or clove.

Oh well.

The tasting notes also described the wine as being “medium-bodied, soft palate”. Now, I know what a soft palate is and, on a personal level, I’m familiar with my own. But I’m not sure what is meant when a wine is said to be “soft palate”. The notes don’t say that the wine will flow gently on my soft palate. No. Instead, the notes say the wine itself is soft palate.

This perplexes me.

Do they really mean that the wine itself is a mouth with a soft, fleshy area located near the oropharynx? I’m thinking probably not.

Do they mean that the wine rolls softly on my soft palate? I hope it does. I don’t want something hard on my soft palate, that would just be confusing.

Do they mean that the wine is gentle and smooth in one’s mouth and general-palate-area? I’m thinking probably. But in that case, they should say the wine is soft on one’s palate. Not that the wine is soft palate….

Still, I’m left scratching my head, poking my palate and wondering about the meaning of it all. More on this later, but for now, I’ll say that soft palates aside, 3 Blind Moose Cab did have a nice full flavor that I enjoyed. But for the price, next time, I’ll probably save almost 2 bucks and opt for a more inexpensive wine that I like better.

wine’s website: www.3blindmoose.com

Mattie’s Perch

Matties Perch Cabernet/ShirazMattie’s Perch. Cabernet-Shiraz

Australia. On sale for $3.99 for 750 ml (normally$6.99)
(Red Wine)

Australia is famous for its good, inexpensive red wines; particularly, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. While many folks turn their nose up at the low-end prices and dismiss these wines as just “big red juiciness”, I say phooey on them. It is true that the land of Auz has put out tons of red wine for people like me to drink. And for that, I thank the good vintners from down under.

Now, I’ve read some good and bad things about this particular wine, so I thought I should explore it on my own. Here’s what I thought:

Mattie’s Perch Cabernet-Shiraz from Australia smells sweet and fruity. Tastes pretty much the same: a lot like drinking grape juice, but with alcohol and just a tiny bit of acid to twang your tongue. It’s a little softer than a lot of other reds and doesn’t have the strong flavors that a lot of folks acquire a taste for. For the price, it’s not a bad wine if you’re just looking for something casual to sip on.

But, if you like the complex feel and layered texture that a lot of Cabernet Sauvignons or Shiraz offer, you might not like this one as much. It’s a little less complicated, I think, and just plain friendly. Not recommended for wine snobs.

wine’s website: www.mattiesperch.com







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