I have a soft-spot in my heart for boutique wineries. I swear I can taste how personal the wine is when a humble winemaker produces just a few hundred cases blended out of pure love and joy. Fact. It tastes like…well, love and joy. And I have to pay homage to my hometown boutique winery Three Arches every now and again because they are the very definition of boutique — and love and joy. Today I bring to you Three Arches Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 from the Santa Cruz Mountains. I’m lucky to have tasted it and I’m telling you this right now — only 89 cases produced. So — if you’re a Cab fan, you’re going to want to jump on this.

Three Arches Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

About the Wine: Three Arches Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Cab grapes sourced from Bates Ranch and Harvest Moon Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. The wine was aged in French Oak for over 21 months and in bottle for an additional 8 months.

Flavor Profile: This is what you want a Cab to be. Dark, thick, inky on the pour and in the glass — visually this wine preps you: this is a wine you can really sink your teeth into. Aromas are just as dark and intriguing: currants, plums (prunes?), a bit of anise, pepper and spice. Take a sip and hello hello — there’s a fun welcoming flavor of fresh darker fruits (this would be the plums and maybe even black grapes coming into play), but the dried fruits soon take over (here we find the currants, the prunes), which dive right into those spices (anise-seed, black pepper, maybe a tinge of burnt coffee?).

Then…BAM! Tannins! Like, whoa!

Thick and voluptuous tannins — the kind that turns you on instead of putting you off. The finish is defined by these tannins — full stop. But you’ll find yourself reaching for another sip, and another, and another, just so you can experience the journey of flavors and play with those tannins on your tongue.

I will say this, I did not decant this wine. I don’t usually think of young wines as needing decanting, but Three Arches’ red wines are so full on, that if you’re a timid sipper, it may well be worth the time and effort to decant this wine and release more of those fruit aromas and flavors and eliminate some of those tannins.

Also note, this is a young wine — I was a bit eager beaver to try it and I did so. But given the body and depth of this wine, this is a cellar keeper for sure — for at least 5 to 10 years.

Or enjoy it now like I did. Either way.

Food Pairing: Think super juicy comfort food. I’m talking a steak — meanly charred on the outside, but still bleeding on the inside. Top that with a red-wine shallot-based jus for extra flavor, salt, and endulgence. And what better way to accompany that than with some creamy, buttery potatoes and delicately, but generously, sautéed vegetables. Yes, it’s that kind of wine: deep, dark, indulgent — don’t hold back on the food pairing when you’re drinking this wine. The boldness, the thickness, the utter brashness of this wine desires you to cook a real meal.

More Info: If you haven’t read my review of Three Arches Pinot Gris, please do — while they mainly produce red varietals, I’m a huge fan of their whites. And I’m going to tell you this right now — if you’re a fan of big, bold tannic red wines and don’t think white wine is for you — seriously, try Three Arches white anything. That big bold punch in the face doesn’t stop with their reds — their whites are filled with a flavor bomb even the manliest man will whimper over.

Anyway, like I said, this is a boutique winery local to the Bay Area — so if you’re interested, I recommend ordering from the Three Arches website directly. If your’e super interested, just join their wine club. Just do it. This Three Arches Cabernet Sauvignon is available on the site for purchase (Price: $24).

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