In my experience, there are two major California Cab stereotypes: the overly-produced, mass-market red wine; or the mean, cranky old man who wants to stay in his bottle until he says he’s ready. Neither of these two extremes are absolutes by any means. You can scroll through this site and find a number of Cali Cabs that I’ve been able to enjoy straight out of the bottle, but still maintain a well-balanced complexity. Where the Ammunition Cabernet Sauvignon differs is in that latter bit. Well-balanced it is, complex it is not. And I mean this in the most complementary way possible. Here is an expression of the noble, nay — kingly — grape, that requires little thought and no pomp and circumstance. It’s an easy drinker, a companionate wine, a California Cabernet Sauvignon that (scroll all the way down) made me use the ‘f’-word…

What’s your Ammunition? Mine: dance

About the Wine: Ammunition Wine 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc grapes. The Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from two vineyards — one from Sonoma Valley AVA, the other from Lake County AVA. The Cabernet Franc was sourced from a vineyard in the Alexander AVA of Sonoma County.

The Cab Sauv and the Cab Franc aged separately for 18 months in French oak barrels (55% new). Three months before bottling, the final blend was created and left to settle in tank.

13.9% ABV

Flavor Profile: In the glass, the Ammunition Wine 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark, burnt red with a lighter, rustier rouge around the perimeter. Initial aromas are reminiscent of an unopened gift-wrapped box — this is a wine that benefits from aeration and time. Indeed, I did pour the Cabernet into a decanter to let aerate for approximately 60 minutes. This allowed the aromas to open up into beautifully lush, plush fruits of blackberries, blueberries, and black plums. There’s just the slightest undertone of the ‘stink’ of molasses, and, if you pull the nose away, you’ll find some beautiful floral notes as well.

On the palate, the Ammunition Wine 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is so soft, almost pillowy like a cloud. There’s a thin, but solid line of acidity that runs throughout the tasting, bringing to life the fruits mentioned above as well as hints of prunes and white pepper. Though a definite medium-bodied wine, it’s quite light in comparison to a stereotypical California Cab. The tannin structure is so seamlessly integrated into the palate, that one barely notices their presence until the very end — and even then the texture is as soft and as penetrable as a light coastal fog.

Food Pairing: I paired the Ammunition Wine 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon with a medium-rare filet mignon topped with a mushroom gravy and a side of roasted potatoes (seasoned with garlic and thyme) and grilled broccolini. This is the ideal pairing for this Cab. Because it’s a “lighter” Cabernet Sauvignon, the heartiness of the dish, allowed those lighter elements — the berries on the palate, the flowers on the nose — to take center stage. And, despite what one may think, the cruciferous broccolini, the cracked pepper on the steak, and the roux-based sauce, did not at all awaken any hidden tannic tension in the wine. In fact, quite the opposite: the tannins seemed to become even more subdued with the crunch, crack, and cream.

I don’t often describe a Cabernet Sauvignon this way, but the Ammunition Wine 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon — is fun! (PS That is the ‘f’-word I was talking about. What were you thinking?)

More Info: Read the story behind Ammunition and tell us — what’s your Ammunition? Tell us and enter to win an Ammunition Huntsman Tier level Wine Club Membership for one year.

I received the Ammunition Wine 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon as a sample for review. (Cheers David!) Retail: $23. For more information about Ammunition Wine and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Ammunition Wine website.


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