I’ve only had Ferrari Carano twice in my wine drinking life. No joke. So, even though I love the Chardonnay as a daily drinker, and their GSM proved a beautiful date night addition, I really had no idea how special Ferrari Carano is until a friend insisted we visit while at last year’s Wine Blogger’s Conference. (Cheers Lori!) Well we each did a tasting and the line up was fab. Some of us bought several bottles, some of us just one. And the one bottle we all had in hand when walking out the door? This Ferrari Carano 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

About the Wine: The Ferrari Carano 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes harvested from Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley AVA. The grapes were hand-harvested and put through a gravity flow destemmer, after which they are hand sorted. The grapes are cold soaked for three days, then whole berries are gravity fed into tanks for fermentation before press. Individual lots remain separate during the fermentation process, fermenting in 100% French oak barrels (42% new) and undergoing secondary, malolactic fermentation as well. The wines are then blended and barrel aged for 21 months before bottling.

14.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Pop the cork on the Ferrari Carano 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and breathe in deep aromas of blackberry, plum, forest floor, fertile soil, and plump black cherries. This Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark maroon on the pour — very aged, very vampiric and velvety. In the glass, it is the same shade at its center, nearly impenetrable at the core, and fading out to a rose-rouge perimeter.

Initial aromas are of black cherry, a hint of chocolate, a hint of anise, a hint of herbs (yes a lot of hints that don’t quite give this wine away). The nose itself is just so decadent. There’s a definite line of acidity within the wine, so swirl. Swirl and reveal a potpourri of rose petals mixed with those initial aromas previously written. Those fruits, those black cherries, they become fully alive, anxiously hanging from their tree branch. Deep breath in reveals a bit of fresh wood as well.

The palate of the Ferrari Carano 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is full, plushy, pillowy, with soft (I emphasize soft) tannins. There’s a hint of heat at the finish, but it’s well balanced with the fruits as well as savory notes. The tannins merely “hug” the teeth at the finish, but neither dominate nor overwhelm the textural experience. Dominant flavors are of plum, black cherry, blackberry, boysenberry, a hint of chili, a hint of anise, a hint of cedar wood, and a subtle/slight background of menthol.

Food Pairing: So, fun-Ferrari-fact: Rhonda Carano, CEO of Ferrari-Carano, has a degree in Nutrition from the University of Nevada and has food pairings and recipes available on the Ferrari-Carano website: Rhonda’s Kitchen. She recommends the Cabernet with roasted, broiled or barbecued heavy game and red meats such as lamb, beef, pork and veal. Check out her recipe for beef brisket sliders.

Me? Well, I was close. I paired the Ferrari Carano 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with lamb shank with eggplant purée and a simple side salad. (Click link for yumtastic food photos.) So, first of all, loved this pairing. The lamb, which just fell off the bone and melted in the mouth, really went well with that plushy mouthfeel. The garlic heat in the eggplant purée brought out the “sweetness” of the fruits and anise notes in the wine. And the side salad, with it’s pop of cherry tomatoes, brought out a kind of earthy funk I didn’t get when sipping the wine on its own.

More Info: I purchased the Ferrari Carano 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon at the winery’s Healdsburg tasting room. Price: no longer available. Price for 2013 vintage: $65. For more information about Ferrari Carano, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Ferrari Carano website.

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