Home > Cabernet Sauvignon, Daily Glass > Daily Glass: The Wine That Begs The Eternal Question

Daily Glass: The Wine That Begs The Eternal Question

Field Recordings Cabernet Sauvignon McMahon VineyardEternal question, you say? Which one of them? Wine is a well known suitor of the Eternal, so yeah, a few questions are lurking for a while…

The one I’m talking about is akin “chicken and egg” case, with a spin. Is the wine made in the vineyard or at the winery? Is it winemaker or the grape? Well, rest assured – I’m not trying to jump on this subject just for the sake of conversation. It just happened that the wine I opened yesterday made me ponder at that exact question.

What wine? 2012 Field Recordings Cabernet Sauvignon McMahon Vineyard Paso Robles (14.9% ABV, $29, 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Tempranillo, 16 month in 89% new French oak, 11% new American oak). What made me to think of the terroir versus winemaker? The aromatics. The wine had not a glimpse of Cabernet Sauvignon characteristic aromas – no cassis, no bell peppers, no eucalyptus. But on the nose there were plenty of spices. There was a hint of a forest floor, mushrooms, a touch of barnyard. There was also a smoke, and plenty of it. There was pepper. And there was tar and pencil shavings. So, what do you say – was that a winemaker talking, or the vineyard?

The palate, unfortunately, didn’t fully support the excitement. There was lots happening (still no cassis or anything else reminiscent of Cabernet Sauvignon), but there was lots of fruit, and vibrant acidity. At times, the wine was borderline jammy, only to be cleansed with the subsequent punch of acidity. I was looking for more balance, and it didn’t happen. Drinkability: 7

So in the end, I got no answers and more questions. Was that a bad wine? I don’t think so, as aromatics brought in lots of pleasure, and it was thought provoking on the palate. Did I open this wine too early? Yep, I’m quite convinced I did. Was that wine made in the vineyard or in the winery? I have no idea, so yes, the floor is yours… Cheers!

  1. January 9, 2015 at 4:19 am

    Still, as always, a great label!

    • talkavino
      January 9, 2015 at 5:43 am

      Field Recordings labels never disappoint 🙂

  2. January 9, 2015 at 4:38 am

    No one can fully impose their will on grapes. But, I think with most wine, it’s the winemaker. Especially cheaper wines crafted to a house style and a consistency across vintages that’s a bit scary. And, when a blend is involved as in your case, the winemaker clearly has imposed her will a bit more forcefully in creating a certain wine experience. But, that may be changing with a trend to less intervention in the vineyard and winery floor. I like the trend.
    Spending time trying to answer these mysteries is a high-class problem. And, if it wasn’t 4:30 am, I’d pop a cork to gain a little enlightenment.

    • talkavino
      January 9, 2015 at 5:47 am

      Thanks for the great comment, Bill, especially at 4:30 AM! This is definitely the question we run into from time to time – and it is so hard to answer. Once (that I heard of) there was a special project conducted, called project Cube, to answer this specific question, but I’m not sure the conclusions are convincing… http://oregonwinepress.com/article?articleTitle=three-cubed-equals-wine–1346359453–1303–
      We are going to keep pondering at it, and it is a lucky question to have 🙂

      • January 9, 2015 at 6:07 am

        Interesting that despite all the food science advances, there aren’t any global wine labels. There’s Coke, Budweiser, but no wine brand that’s made under licence all around the globe.thats pretty cool.

        • talkavino
          January 9, 2015 at 7:36 am

          Well, that is a good thing :). Coke is made out of powder, so no surprises. However, i had budweiser once at the place where it was brewed, and it was an amazing beer, so not sure if all buds around the world would be the same…

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