Tag: Cabernet Sauvignon

LTL 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon

I’ve been going on and on to my partner in wine crime about how Washington Cabernet is the fun, approachable alternative to Napa Cabernet. Is it the terroir? The winemaking? Or the fact that the folks up here want that alt-personality reputation. All of the above? Anyway, I was so happy when the folks at Upchurch queried me for sampling. It’s a welcome opportunity to taste wines from outside my state. And also prove to my partner that (once again) I was right…

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Flora Springs 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon

A Napa Cab that’s ready to drink straight out of the bottle? Yes please and thank you. Because sometimes you want a little rusticity, but not so much that the soil sinks in the bottle and the tannins are tacky on your tongue. Now this isn’t a varietal Cab, it  is blended with a bit of Merlot and Malbec to help add a bit of softness and fresh acidity. Ah, Flora Springs…you’ve gone and done it again.

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Jamieson Ranch Vineyards 2015 Double Lariat Cabernet Sauvignon

Sip on a red wine and taste voluptuous, jammy fruits, a delicate acidity and just a backbone of tannin, and you may think at least three different varietals and I bet none of them would be a Napa Cabernet. Indeed, I had my partner in wine crime taste this blind and his brain went from Zinfandel, to Shiraz, and then settled on a rusty “Pinot Noir,” before saying that whatever it is, it’s definitely not a Cab. Oh how wrong you’d be and how wrong he was. I’m loving the innovation of the new generation of Napa winemakers—even those who have been in the business for years are evolving into this notion of “fresh fruit ripeness,” picking slightly earlier, using minimal intervention winemaking techniques, and ultimately crafting Napa Cabernet that can age elegantly for decades…but are completely gluggable now.

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Ranch 32 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

When you think Monterey, what varietals do you think of? I’m going to guess the brain heads straight to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Indeed, the overall cool climate of the larger Monterey AVA is known for its maritime influence, as it’s nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Monterey Bay — ideal conditions for the picky Pinot Noir and for crafting Chardonnay with crisp acidity. But when Monterey was first embarked upon as a winemaking region, the first vineyards planted were to, none other than the king of grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Of course what we know now about soil composition and climate has greatly changed. Our enhanced understanding has allowed grape growers to plant grapes where they’ll thrive best. The Hames Valley, where Ranch 32 grows their Cabernet is one of the warmer portions of Monterey. Located at the foot of the Santa Lucia Highlands, the valley is sheltered from the afternoon winds and cooling temperatures that otherwise stream through the regions. And it is because of this warmth, along with the shaly loam soils, that Cabernet reigns supreme in the Hames Valley. 

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