The time has come again to celebrate #CabernetDay. I’m really curious – when you hear the words Cabernet Day, what is the first wine (or grape) which comes to mind – is it Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc? I would bet that at least two third of the people (if not more) would associate Cabernet Day with Cabernet Sauvignon – and can you blame anyone? While the most celebrated grape in the world comes from Bordeaux, most of Bordeaux wines are blends, so it is really California wine industry which brought Cabernet Sauvignon to such a star status in the wine world, making it an object of crave and desire.
I looked through my past #CabernetDay posts – most of them talk about Cabernet Sauvignon. Meanwhile, Cabernet Franc, a parent of Cabernet Sauvignon, deserves its own praise. You see, the success of Cabernet Sauvignon, especially the California Cabernet Sauvignon, created certain image, certain collective expectations of any wines which happened to have the name Cabernet Sauvignon on the label – we expect power, we expect concentration, we expect big body and silky layers. When it comes to Cabernet Franc, we still accept the wide range of expression – from spicy and light Loire or US East Coast renditions to the powerful and concentrated Bordeaux (rare) and California wines.
Cabernet Franc is still allowed to be different, without demand to adhere to the “international standard” based on the name. You can find a lot of green bell peppers, earthiness and even tree brunches in the Loire (Bourgueil, Chinon, Saumur-Champigny) or US East Coast Cabernet Franc, of course often emanating that wonderful black currant, (a.k.a. “cassis”). On another end of the spectrum are California renditions of Cabernet Franc, which try to eliminate the green bell pepper and make the wine more similar to traditional Cabernet Sauvignon. Either way, Cabernet Franc provides a bigger variety compare to Cabernet Sauvignon – I never said it is better, though.
For today’s #CabernetDay celebration I’ve chosen a Cabernet Franc from California. Well, by accident, it happened to be Cabernet Franc for the second day in the row, and for both days it is a Cabernet Franc from one of my favorite producers – Field Recordings. 2013 Hinterland Vineyard Cabernet Franc Paso Robles (14.1% ABV, $18, 88% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot), and 2013 Tommy Town Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara (14.3% ABV, $18, 100% Cabernet Franc) – two beautiful wines, celebrating a noble grape. The Hinterland Vineyard version was a bit more polished and round, and the Tommy Town Vineyard needed for the alcohol to blow off before it would show itself properly, but both wines had nice, long black currant-loaded finish, and I would gladly drink either one again (those were my only bottles…).
How did you celebrate the #CabernetDay? What was in your glass? Cheers!
Yes, it is a #CabernetDay, and a post about Cabernet wines should be rather appropriate – but somehow, I was on the fence about it, until the AME opened up a little bit… When the wine give you lots of pleasure, why not talk about it? Well, this is how I felt anyway.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc make some of the very best wines in the world, both when they fly solo, and when assisted by the other grapes. Myriad of
love letters err tasting notes, blog posts and articles had been written to those grapes and wines, and hundreds millions of dollars traded hands for the pleasure of owning and drinking the Cabernet wines. Yes, we love our Cabernet wines (even Miles didn’t dare to poop on them). Thus I will not inundate you with another ten (or fifty) interesting facts, and instead will simply share the pleasure I had drinking the wines.
The greatness of the #GrapeDay is in the fact that it helps to select the bottle to be open. It also makes it appropriate to break a special bottle, and so I did.
The first bottle opened was 2009 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley. What makes it special? I had only one bottle, and read some rave reviews advocating giving this wine some time – thus I was waiting for the “special occasion” (thank you #CabernetDay).
I don’t know how this works, but when I think about the wines in the terms of how I would describe them, I get some random analogies at random times. This time my brain decided to go with the athletes analogy. To give you an idea of how this wine tasted, imagine a runner, may be a sprinter – perfectly built slender body, perfectly visible muscles, everything is tightly wound and ready to spring at any moment. A perfectly looking, but minimalist body. That was the impression of this wine – restrained cassis notes, espresso, earth, plums, clean acidity, firm and perfectly structured – a great package all around. (Drinkability:8)
The second wine was 2005 Neyers Vineyards AME Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. What makes it special? I love Neyers wines – their 2003 Cabernet was spectacular, for instance. And I had only two bottles of the AME (I rarely buy wines by the case, so having only two bottles is rather common). I would say that this wine was special even for the Neyers – the AME constitutes first initials of the names of their 3 children – Alexandra, Michael and Elizabeth.
Going to the sports analogy, imagine the same perfectly built athlete, but make all the muscles at least 3 times bigger – still perfect body, no fat, just muscles, but much bigger frame and much bigger muscles. We are not getting to the bodybuilder sizes, but this might be Stallone rather than Schwarzenegger – I hope you got my point.
Delicious open nose of dark fruit, cassis, loads of cassis, eucalyptus, earth. On the palate – so many things happening – cassis, plums, earth, pencil shavings, dark chocolate and espresso combined, clean acidity, perfect balance, firm structure and powerful tannins – a wow wine. (Drinkability:9).
There you have it, my friends – two great wines in honor of #CabernetDay. What is in your glass? Cheers!
Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #CabernetDay – Tomorrow, WTSO Everything Goes Marathon, Crowdsourced Cabernet, World Wine Challenge
Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #111, Grape Trivia – Grüner Veltliner.
This wine quiz is a continuation of the trivia series, where we are talking about individual grapes and then you get to answer 5 questions as it relates to that grape. The subject of the last quiz was white grape called Grüner Veltliner.
Here are the questions, now with the answers:
Q1: These flavors are usually associated with red wines, but it is not uncommon to find them in the description of the Grüner Veltliner wines. Do you know what flavors are those (multiple answers are possible)?
a. Chocolate, b. Pencil shavings, c. Pepper, d. Tar, e. Tobacco
A1: While Grüner Veltliner is a white grape, some of its aromas are typically associated with the red grapes, not with the whites – namely, pepper and tobacco can be often perceived in in the Grüner Veltliner wines.
Q2: These vegetables are notorious for been a “wine killer” – in terms of successful pairing, it is. And yet Grüner Veltliner is one of the unique wines (if not the only one) which is known to be able to pair successfully with those offenders. Do you know what vegetables we are talking about?
A2: Asparagus and artichoke are notoriously difficult to pair with the wines, and Grüner Veltliner often works very well with both vegetables.
Q3: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 95-100 range Classic (the highest and the most prestigious category). True or False: there are no Grüner Veltliner – based wines rated in the Classic category
A3: Correct answer is “false” – there are some Grüner Veltliner rates as “classic” – but literally, there are only very few, mostly late harvest Grüner Veltliner wines rated at 95 as the highest.
Q4: According to one of the well known wine critics, the Grüner Veltliner might be “the next big thing” in which wine making country:
a. Australia, b.Argentina, c. Chile, d. South Africa, e. United States
A4: Wine expert James Halliday considers Grüner Veltliner to be potentially the next big thing in Australia, so the correct answer is a, Australia.
Q5: Which one doesn’t belong and why:
a. Austria, b. Croatia, c. Czech Republic, d. Hungary, e. Slovakia
A5: All the countries in this list are known to produce Grüner Veltliner wines, except Croatia, thus correct answer is b, Croatia.
When it comes to the results, I’m glad to say that we have a winner! apuginthekitchen correctly answered all 5 questions, so she becomes our new champion and gets the coveted prize of unlimited bragging rights! I also want to acknowledge Mario Plazio (no web site), who correctly answered 4 questions out of 5. Well done!
Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!
First and foremost, tomorrow, August 28th, we are celebrating 5th annual #CabernetDay – two noble grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, countless wines from all over the world. Open a bottle, enjoy and share with the world – that’s all there is to it. You can also start celebration in style by joining the #WineChat tonight with Jean Edwards Cellars on twitter at 9 pm Eastern/ 6 pm Pacific and talking about your favorite Cabernet wines.
Wine Til Sold Out (@WTSO) is doing it again! The new Marathon will be taking place on Monday, September 8th. Only this time, it will be a very unusual for WTSO “Everything Goes” marathon. Styled after the famous Last Bottle Madness Marathons, there will be all sorts of wines offered at different prices and free shipping on any quantities (no minimums). All orders will be combined and shipped after September 22nd. The Marathon will start at 10 AM Eastern, and as usual, you will get the new wine notification only on twitter. Happy hunting!
Famous Washington State winery, Columbia Crest, recently started a new project – Crowdsourced Cabernet. You can join the group of like-minded people and become an internet winemaker for the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. 5 acres of vines, video cameras showing every angle of the grapes, the temperature, vine condition and all other information right in front of you – and now you have to make the decision which will affect your wine – no pressure. I think this is a very cool project – if anything, an interesting learning experience. For more details and to become a winemaker, here is your link. Don’t delay, the harvest is about to start…
And the last one for today – a game. A wine education and trivia game it is, recently released by the Trinchero Family Estates. The game is called World Wine Challenge ( available in iTunes for $2.99), it will help you to learn variety of wine subjects in the interactive fashion, as well as compare your knowledge to the others in the competition format. I didn’t get a chance to download the game yet (plan to do it shortly), but in case you are interested, here is the link with all the information about the game and its features.
And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way! Cheers!
First, let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #71, grape trivia – Albariño.
In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about white grape called Albariño. Here are the questions, now with the answers:
Q1: Explain the origin of the name Albariño
A1: The theory is that the Albariño was brought to Spain from Germany’s Rhine region and it is a relative of Riesling. Thus Alba-Riño stands for “white from Rhine”
Q2: What kind of food is typically expected to be paired with Albariño?
A2: Seafood! Rias Baixas, the region where Albariño strives, is fully embraced by the Atlantic ocean, so seafood is a local specialty, and Albariño is known to perfectly complement it.
Q3: When Albariño was first planted in California?
a. 2000, b. 1996, c. 1992, d. 1988
A3: b, 1996. In 1996, Kathryn and Michael Havens of Havens Wine Cellars visited Rias Baixas and fell in love with Albariño. They brought it back to the US and started the first plantings. Albariño was officially registered in California in the year 2000.
Q4: For the long time, winemakers in Australia thought that they are making Albariño wine – until it was recently found that due to the mistake, what they thought they planted as Albariño is not Albariño at all, but a totally unrelated grape. Do you know what grape it was?
Q5: Val do Salnés is one of the sub-regions in Rias Baixas, making wines from Albariño grapes. True or False: to be labeled Albariño Val do Salnés, the wine must contain 100% Albariño grapes
A5: False. Interestingly enough, for the wine to be labeled Rias Baixas DO, it should be 100% Albariño, but for any other sub-regions, it is enough to use only 70% of the Albariño grapes.
I’m glad to report that we have a winner this time! Linda from Foxress is taking home the unlimited bragging rights today. Well done!
Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!
Let me ask you a question. How possessive you are? Do you possess your wines, or maybe your wines possess you? Or may be your wines are possessed? If I were you, I wouldn’t go down to that cellar…yeah. Why am I all of a sudden so possessed with the possession? Because Possession is the theme of the #MWWC3! Here is the formal announcement with all the rules and dates. Sharpen your mind and your pencil, blow the dust off your keyboard – and write, write, write! The submission deadline is Monday, September 23rd.
Last minute reminder – tomorrow, August 29th, is 4th annual Cabernet Day! Open the bottle of Cabernet and join the festivities. Hope you will enjoy whatever you will be drinking, and if it will be extra good – let the world know about it – blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – there are so many ways today to let the world know that you are happy!
I also have two articles to share with you. Interestingly enough, I just realized that these two articles are essentially completely opposite to each other. In the first article, Harvey Steiman, Wine spectator’s Editor at Large, talks about scientific advancements in the world of wine. He talks about DNA testing being used to detect faults in wine, and then he also talks about micro-oxygenation, that makes the wines more soft and round. Fault detection might be good, but do you want your wines to be soft, round and … the same? I personally would prefer the wine with character over the dull and round, but of course you can decide for yourself.
Second article talks about the archaeological project in Italy, where the group of scientists it trying to recreate the way the wine was made thousands of years ago – no chemicals, no reverse osmosis, no micro-oxygenation – just the pure goodness of nature. Somehow, I like this. But again, read the article and decide for yourself.
That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but refill is on its way. Until the next time – cheers!
Okay, let’s get to our meritage business – starting with the answer for Wine Quiz #26 – Extreme Wines, Part 2. Actually I think the question was not difficult, which is also showing in having many people chose the right answer – Tavel. While Jerez, Marsala, Vin Jaune and Vin Santo are all aged in the open barrels, Tavel, while famous, is a regular Rose wine from Rhone. Just for the quick heads up, I think the next quiz will still be along the same line of “wines and factors”, and then we will probably play with “wines and places”.
Going into the news, let’s start with the important one – believe it or not, but it is harvest time already! Many vineyards in Texas already picked they grapes, and California wineries are well on the way. Dr. Vino just had a great quiz regarding the harvest – try it on for a size, you might find the answer quite surprising.
Wine Bloggers Conference 2012 just took place a week ago in Portland, Oregon – but the wine blogging doesn’t take any breaks, and Wine Bloggers Conference 2013 is already announced – it will take place in Penticton, British Columbia (yep, in Canada), on June 6-8. As I missed the one in Portland, I will have to really think about this one now …
Steve Heimoff wrote a very interesting blog post (love the language, very colorful) about monetization of the wine blogs, which was triggered by the discussions at WBC12. Whether you are thinking about monetizing your blog or not, this will be an interesting read – don’t miss it.
Interested in exploring 100 top restaurant in US? You are in luck! Forbes just published an article about those 100 best restaurants, circa 2012, just to make your job easier. And if you need more information, you can go directly to the source – the full list at Opinionated About Dining website (while I have no comments about the list, the overall design of that OAD website looks very unappealing to me – but hey, the information should be still good, right?).
This is the end of my wine news for today. Ohh, wait, no – whatever you do, don’t forget the #CabernetDay day tomorrow! And if anyone needs help to finish that bottle of Screaming Eagle, or Bryant, or Harlan, or (tired yet? I can continue) anyway, you got the point – I’m at your full disposal! Okay, fine, for real – what are you going to open?
Happy Wine Wednesday! Cheers!
Dinner outside is one of the little pleasures of suburban life, when you can get to enjoy the food twice. Not that cooking the food on the stove is not enjoyable – but somehow, doing it outside on the open fire creates the whole separate feeling. And then the whole process of having food outdoors also brings different level of pleasure – I don’t know about you, but whenever possible, in a restaurant I ask for the table outside, to be able to enjoy both food and the weather, and here I don’t even need to ask anyone to get the table outside!
Yes, I will get to the Waterstone cab in a second (after all, that should be the subject of the post, right?) – but let me talk about the food for a moment. Our local Fairway had jumbo shrimp and fillet Mignon on sale, so the menu was a no-brainer. Of course you have to have something green on the grill, so I think asparagus is one of the best greens you can grill:
I have a feeling that the recipes’ page is coming up in this blog – little by little, I learned to make a few dishes consistently well, so I think sharing the recipes makes sense (but let me sleep on it). One important thing about my recipes – more often than not, I don’t use the exact measure. I can’t tell you to use a quarter of teaspoon of salt, a half of it or the whole one – I just rely on a “gut feeling” for “enough or not”. For the asparagus, I use a dash of salt, black pepper, granulated garlic, olive oil and a splash of balsamic – mix it all together and let it “marinate” for 30 minutes or so. And then of course the key part is not to overcook the asparagus, so it will retain the crunch. I typically have a grill at 400°F and put the asparagus down for 1 minute, turn around, and keep it for another minute – and it is done.
I made shrimp on a skewer. You need to clean the shrimp, and marinate it for 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge (don’t marinate for too long, or it will become a mush). For the marinade ( considering I had 1 pound of shrimp) I used about 1/4 of a cup of olive oil, 4 -5 minced garlic cloves, juice of one lemon ( you can add wine vinegar also, if you want) and a couple of Penzey spices – I used Cajun and Lemon Pepper. About 2 minutes on each side at the same 400°F grill, and … voila:
And the steak – everybody can make steak on the grill, so there is not much to talk about – here is the picture for you:
Quite honestly, I should’ve used more salt – but this you probably can’t tell it from the picture. I rehabilitated myself the next day by generously using Montreal seasoning mix, but I don’t this is important in the context of this blog.
And then, of course, there was wine. First I read about Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon in the e-mail from the Benchmark Wine Company, where it was listed as one of the “stuff favorites”. Further checking on internet seemed to be hinting at connection between Harlan Estate, producer of one of the absolute top (“cult” is the word) California wines and Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon – the rumor which Jancis Robinson unequivocally dismisses.
Whether the rumor is true or not is not that essential – Benchmark’s recommendation along with unpretentious label was enough to build my expectations (okay, I’m lying about the rumor – of course I want this wine to be made out of Harlan’s juice, at about 1/30 of a price of the bottle of Harlan Estate). Interestingly enough, if you will read about the Waterstone Winery, which was established in 2000, it doesn’t own any vineyards, which means that grapes should be sourced from the other vineyards, so the whole idea of wine being made out of Harlan juice, entirely or at least partially, is not that impossible. Anyway, with all those expectations, I was still taking my time, until Zak (owner of Cost Less Wines) told be that he only has about 10 bottles left, so … (he took a pause after “so”) I realized that the time has come.
As you can see from the picture below, I approached entire matter of experiencing the Waterstone very seriously, using my “special occasions only” Cabernet set from Reidel (we have enough glasses for the regular use, and those Reidel glasses don’t last long):
Every time I use these special Reidel glasses, the first smell sensation I get is the one of a wet dog – I guess I don’t know how to use them properly… That smell has nothing to do with the wine, and it disappears after a few sips, but it sure gets in the way of your first impression. Well, let’s talk about the wine. This 2007 Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (14.5% ABV, $27.99) has 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 3% Cabernet France and 1% Petite Verdot, and it was aged in french oak barrels for 22 months. The wine had a perfect nose of blueberries. Not blueberry pie or blueberry jam, but a clean, perfect, balanced nose of fresh berries. This was followed by nice dark fruit on the palate, luscious and round, with some eucalyptus and touch of licorice, excellent balance of tannins, acidity and fruit. Drinkability: 9-. It is interesting to note that the wine was a bit all over the place on the second day, and I had nothing for the third day ( while I expect that it probably would taste better). Here is an artistic rendering of the event by my daughter:
There you have it, folks. I think this is the wine to buy by the case, if you can find it, of course. If you tasted this wine, I will be glad to compare notes. If you didn’t taste it yet, try to find it – and then I will be glad to compare notes. Cheers!
P.S. you can also consider this post as an early contribution for #CabernetDay which is coming up on Thursday, August 30th.
It is Meritage time, so let’s start from the answer for the Wine Quiz #25 – Extreme Wines. The question was about wines which are not destroyed by heat, but instead, are “made” by it. And the right answer is… Madeira! Madeira wine, which was discovered as a by-product of a long sea journeys of the wine barrels, is commercially made using the method called estufagem, where wine is heated up to 130F for at least 90 days. If you haven’t tried Madeira recently, you should, as the Madeira is currently in the process of revival, and it has a lot to offer.
And now for the sipping, errr – wine news section. Wine Blog Awards winners had been announced at WBC12 – here is the list. Congratulations to all the winners!
Decanter magazine just announced that Wine Grapes book is ready to be published. The book is written by Jancis Robinson and the team, and it provides information on 1,368 (!) wine grapes – looks like I got long ways to go in my Wine Century quest.
For those of us who missed Wine Bloggers Conference 2012, here is the summary by Tom Warks. I know that The Drunken Cyclist also attended WBC2012 – I will be very interested in reading his prospective on the conference.
Quick reminder for the upcoming wine holiday (NJVinoMan, please take notice : ) ): 3rd Annual Cabernet Day (#CabernetDay hash tag on Twitter) will be celebrated on August 30th – I hope you have enough time to decide on that special bottle.
That’s all for today, folks. Cheers!
As usual, we are staring with the answer for the Wine Quiz #22: Olympics for all, where you had to figure out which “unusual” country supplied one of the “official” wines for the XXX Olympics in London. It was interesting again to see the spread of the answers – however this time we have a winner (as he left a comment in the Quiz post). And the right answer is …(drum roll, please)… Brazil – as the host of Summer Olympics 2016. And the winner is – The Drunken Cyclist – he gets a big prize in terms of unlimited bragging rights!
I have a couple of things to bring to your attention. First, I found a very interesting blog called Foodimentary. Particularly, this blog lists all the daily (!) food holidays in US. I didn’t check all 365 days, but so far it seems that every day has a designated food holiday! If before you had to eat simply because you were hungry, now you can eat with the purpose and celebrate particular foods! There is a lot more in that blog besides the list of the food holidays – check it out.
Next, there was an interesting post by W. Blake Gray, talking about New York Post food critic’s opinion regarding restaurant wine lists – I don’t want to spoil it for you, I will just tell you that it is quite controversial ( and practically 100% opposite to my own opinion), so read it for yourself.
And last but not least – an advanced wine Holiday warning for you. While Foodimentary blog lists tons of food holidays, there are many wine holidays which are not mentioned – and I think the important one is coming up. On August 30th, wine social media will be celebrating 3rd annual #CabernetDay! I’m sure this will be quite exciting for many of my readers. I have only one request – if anyone plans to open Screaming Eagle, Harlan, Colgin, Bryant or anything else of that caliber, can I please, please (with the cherry on top!) get an invitation? There, I said it – now I have to let universe to work its magical ways.
We reached the bottom of our Meritage glass. Cheers!