Posts Tagged ‘Cabernet’

Oh my, where to begin!

I drank the whole bottle myself once this vino was uncorked and decanted.  Already aged 6 years, the tannin and pop has mellowed all on its own to be sure, but having read somewhere that this particular Niagara Escarpment Winery’s VQA-certified wines were bold prepared me to take such a step prior to drinking.

Even after an hour in my favorite decanter, the aroma was still smooth and appealing with wafts of black pepper, cedar and hints of cocoa.  The palate was lip-smackingly dry; the full-bodied flavors of chocolate, cherries and a creamy smoothness brings to mind a dense, not-too-sweet cake.

The finish was dry to be sure with a racy edge that had me polishing off the bottle and licking the last drops from my class.

~$15/blt at the LCBO, supplies are dwindling so if you find it, get it and either drink now or cellar for just a few more years.




**images credit: WineAlign – makes no claim to ownership and republishes image under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.

I have no idea what possessed me to buy another South American wine; and one from the most mass-production oriented sections of the most abused appellation in all Argentina.  Unless any of you can convince me to taste another South American vino, I’m off them for good.

I’m having a difficult time writing this review as I can’t think of anything really nice to say about this vino.  Its alcohol-forward on the nose, powerful scents of cherry and shale, a gravelly mouth-feel, flavors of mealy dampness and a lingering tarry finish of smoke and creosote.

So I guess this vinoblog entry is as much a washout as this gloppy stuff is.

At ~$13/bottle, its not even a value purchase.

No more South American wine for me unless YOU can convince me otherwise.



image credit – reposted with source credit going to WineAlign.  thevinoboy .com makes no claim to ownership and reposts under fair use provisions for review and critique.

Ok, so I’m on a South African binge.  Last review was not too bad from the Stellenboch region of the Western Cape. (The only other viticultural region is the Northern Cape).  Only my third bottle of South African wine, I’m actually sort of liking its unique characteristics. This Nederburg Cab is from the adjacent appellation of “Paarl”.

In an attempt to refine my wine-tasting skills, with the help of a vino-friend; I’ve been tasting most of my new entries blindfolded.  I carefully ponder all the non-visual aspects of a vino and as I ramble and consider, my vino-friend takes notes.

Very forward with the alcohol, it took a number of whiffs to finally detect a few essences of black fruits, a faint touch of licorice and some cedar. Concluding I was tasting a Cab was easy.  Dense and full-bodied on the palate, the flavors are earthy and spicy through the nose.  The finish is somewhat powdery; a woodiness that tastes of sappiness.  I’m thinking this hasn’t seen any oak at all even as sources say it has seen twelve months “in wood”.  Taking off the blindfold, it was interesting to note the deep purple hue – not at all like a ruby I’m accustomed to see in a Cab.

Though only marginally recommended, this vino could do with some proper oaking to better heighten the varietal characteristics most of us appreciate in a good Cabernet.  (LCBO ~$11/btl)  In this price range, there are other South African Cabs on the shelf I’d be more excited to try.



**image credit – Snooth.  Image re-posted from this source to coordinate with my excerpt review.

Not too long ago, a friend emailed me a list of bottles he had in his cellar and the two questions I hear a lot: “How long can I cellar this?” and “Is this still drinkable?”  One such bottle on that list was the J. Lohr Seven Oaks Estates Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.

This is a standard Cab Sauv that most people have in their cellar as its reasonable inexpensive, cellarable for 7-10 years after bottling and has, over the years; been extensively reviewed and tasted by both novice and expert alike.  At LCBO/Vintages outlets for ~$22/btl, it may be a bit of a higher-ended moderately-priced splurge for some.

Both bright and lustrous, the aromas of this deep red vino leap from the glass to fill the nose with black fruits and berries. Essences of  vanilla and other deep toasty notes linger before the sipping.  The mouth-filling body is silky smooth with the same flavors carrying through to a slightly oily finish of tar and violets.

Yes, the feeling in the mouth is nice to start, but there just seems to be something over-worked and stressed.  The softness of the tannin feels clammy on the tongue.  This leads to a flabby and fatty smooth feeling like a big lick of margarine just coated the palate with oil.

Drawing on my tasting memories of various other California Cabs, I’m left feeling very blah about this wine.  After writing this review, I searched for others’ tastings to see if I’m not the only one to feel disappointed.  The sentiment is about 70/30 pro/con.

Sorry J. Lohr.  I can’t in good vinoconscience recommend this to my readers.  You guys talk a big game full of hype and popularity, but this wine doesn’t follow though.



**image credit: The Winery.  Republished under Fair Use Provisions for Review and Critique.

I adore New Zealand wine.  Australia, not so much. The selection of this Shiraz-Cabernet from Rosemount’s Diamond Cellars range was a peer-pressured purchase to pair with pasta.

Before my wine-appreciation days began, so I have researched, the family-owned Rosemount Estates winery began some 40 years ago in the Hunter Valley of the NewSouthWales province roughly 100kms inland from the Tasman Sea.  The amazing quality of their wines was an Australian treasure.  Until, that is, they sold out to several major conglomerates.  Not one to give in to preconceived notions, I handled this wine as though I’ve never seen or heard of it before.

Dark garnet in color, its higher 13.5% alc/vol legged rather quickly on the sides of the glass. The nose offered traces of raspberry and mulberry with a faint presence of oak (even though I can be pretty sure no oak touched this juice).

The fuller Shiraz-forward palate is decently spicy with essences of anise and black pepper, the Cabernet helping to balance this spice with a packed earth flavor.  What got me to NOT liking this wine was the lingering and very strong earthy finish – giving the impression that you’re sucking on rocks from the back yard that dogs have sniffed and worms have died under. Each subsequent mouthful of delicious home-made lasagna tasted like a mud pie.

Can’t really recommend this vino for food pairing but if you’re just sipping, go for it.  For its ~$14/blt price tag (double the ~$7/btl in the USA), I would have expected much better.




**image credit – Me.  I took the bottle shot myself with my wee HP digicam, removed background clutter and exported to transparent PNG.  Product likeness property of the winery, duh!!

I will be having guests over in a couple days so I have test-cooked the meal I’ll be serving and I can honestly say they will be impressed.  We’ve chatted about wine for a long time and both they and I abhor ‘White Zinfandel’. Its cloying and sickly with not much true flavor and not even worthy to cook with – we’re all shocked its such a good seller. I wanted a rose that would bridge the flavors of the h’ors d’oeuvres and the entrée.   This vino was on sale, so I bought three bottles (testing, serving, and an extra just in case one wasn’t enough with dinner…)

H’ors d’oeuvres: “Hummus on Pita Chips garnished w/ Pomegranate seeds” & “Chicken Satay skewers w/ Chipotle drizzle”
Entrée: “Roasted Pecan-crusted Salmon w/ a pepper relish”, baked Acorn squash, and a basic Arborio rice pilaf.

Deep salmon pink in colour, this Cab rosé shows fresh and savory aromas of wild strawberries, currants, ripe red pepper and a faint hint of citrus. It’s dry, medium-body carries a decent and pleasing amount of acidity. The medium-length finish features some darker notes of dried plum and a slight minerality.

I think it’ll be a hit with the dinner – each dish requires a little refinement; I have a couple days to perfect them. Wish me luck.  LCBO/Vintages ~$12/btl



EDIT: Dinner was a huge success!!  My guests were practically licking their plates! It was a good thing I’d picked up that third bottle; the vino was an extraordinary match.

From Austria, Rabl Cab Sauv. Rose 2008.  Wonderful!!




**image credit: Ganked from another reviewer who fails to credit his sources. I totally disagree with this other reviewer’s assessment of the vino, btw. (I’ve visited the winery’s website and there aren’t many images on there.)

On the other side of the Andes, to the west of Argentina is the country of Chile. As in my last post, I spoke about the rediscovery of original un-grafted pre-Blight French rootstock from all over the viticultural regions of France. Quite a few of these migrant plantation workers ended up in the Calchagua Valley.  The macro-climate is typical Mediterranean-esque and seasonal variations are minimal. There are a few areas of mass-production; there are also a few smaller estates.

This inexpensive wine has a moderate stone-fruit nose with hints of roasted coffee. The body is medium with a muddled palate that makes me feel like this Cab wants to be more than it actually is.  Its very alcohol evident, the tannins are overly strong and the finish lasts a little too long for comfort.

I had this with grill-fired flat-bread pepperoni & mozzarella pizza hoping the acidity of the wine would cleanse the oiliness of the pepperoni from the tongue.  It did that, surely, but the linger of the wine affected the taste of every other mouthful of pizza after that. 2009 was an exceptionally hot and dry season for this area of Chile, so some vines and fruit may have been more dehydrated than others.  That is one of the reasons I’m trying to stick to Reserva estate-grown Chilean and Argentine wines for the 2009 season. I guess the sorting and separating of the affected fruit wasn’t as careful as they’d hoped, in my opinion.  Still though, not a bad wine.