Posts Tagged ‘California Cabernet Sauvignon’

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Ageing of California Cabs, Is 0.05 an answer?, and more

May 29, 2013 9 comments

Meritage time!

As usual, we are starting with the answer to the wine quiz #58, Grape Trivia – Syrah. In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about Syrah, a.k.a. Shiraz.

Q1: Where is Shiraz?

A1: Shiraz is a town in Iran (previously Persia) where supposedly Syrah was originated.

Q2: Which white grape often plays a role of blending companion for Shiraz?

A2: Viognier is often added to both Syrah (Côte-Rôtie) and Shiraz. In many cases you can see Shiraz Viognier written on the labels of Australian wines.

Q3: One of the appellations below can be removed from the list – can you tell which one and why? For the answer to count, “why” explanation is required

A. Cornas, B. Côte-Rôtie, C. Crozes-Hermitage, D. Hermitage, E. Saint-Joseph

A3: Cornas. While Syrah is the only red grape allowed to be used in all of the appellations above, all appellations except Cornas also allow addition of white grapes (Viognier or Marsanne and Roussanne) to the final wine.

Q4: About 100 years ago, Syrah was a popular addition to the wines of one well known region – now this practice is totally illegal by the appellation rules. Do you know what region was that?

A4: Bordeaux. Syrah was a popular addition to Bordeaux wine, providing the structure and flesh. Of course the practice is illegal according to Bordeaux AOC rules, but it is still quite popular in the other regions, such as Australia, where you can often find Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz wines.

Q5: Where do you think are the oldest in the world continuously producing  Syrah vineyards are located? Can you guess the approximate age of the vines?

A5: Australia. It is very difficult to figure out who was first and who was not, as in the wine world, there are always multiple claims to the “first” and “oldest” bragging rights. Based on the information I came across in this forum discussion, the oldest Shiraz vines had being planted in 1846 in the Jacobs Creek area, and Schild Estate is producing the wine called Moorooroo Shiraz from those old vines.

And the winners are… The Drunken Cyclist (I think for 5 times in the row!). He got all 5 questions correctly – great job, Jeff! Very close right behind him (with 4.5 out of 5 points – very close in the area for Shiraz, but named a different country – is Barbie from Blindly Guessing Grapes. If you are not familiar with her blog – check it out, she is constantly challenging herself to taste and learn about different grapes, definitely worth your attention. Honorable mention goes to Red Wine Diva, who correctly answered 3 out of 5 questions. Great job all, enjoy your bragging rights!

And now, to the interesting stuff around the vines and the web!

First I want to mention an interesting post by Steve Heimoff, where he is talking about change in perception of what ageable California Cabernet Sauvignon is, from 1970s to today. Steve’s point is that back in the 70s, to be considered age-worthy, Cabernet was supposed to taste bad on the release – where this is definitely not the point now. Read it for yourself, and as usual, don’t forget to read through the comments section, as it contains a lot of interesting information.

Next subject is currently widely discussed in many alcohol-related blogs – NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) recently came up with recommendation to lower allowed alcohol blood limit to 0.05 (down from 0.08 which is currently the limit). Both Steve Heimoff and W. Blake Gray wrote blog posts about it, which you can read here and here, advocating the idea that just lowering of the alcohol blood level will not be the solution for DUI-related accidents.  They both covered the subject quite well, so I’m not going to repeat all of their arguments – but I recommend that you will read their posts, as in the end of the day, this relates to all of us and our ability to have a glass of wine with the meal in the restaurant.

There is also something else I want you to think about here. My friend Emil sent me a very interesting link tot he blog post titled “Survivorship Bias“. The post is very (very!) long and has nothing to do with wine – it is however a very (very!) worthwhile reading. This post is talking about the fact that when we analyze the problem, we tend to focus on successful outcome only, and we forget to carefully look on all the failed results and dead-end paths (it is impossible to give you a good summary in one sentence, you will be better off reading the post). The connection here? I believe that most of drunk-driving accidents were caused by the people whose blood alcohol level was far exceeding 0.08, forget 0.05. Majority of the people involved into DUI accidents never thought of what the allowed blood alcohol level is  – 0.08, 0.05 or whatever, so lowering the limit will only allow to collect more fines and get in the way of more people’s lives – but it is not going to address the problem itself and reduce the number of drunk-driving related accidents. By no means I advocate or promote drunk-driving, this is definitely a serious problem which needs to be solved – but in order to solve this problem, it should be analyzed properly first, and this is what I believe this 0.05 recommendation is lacking.

And this is all I have for you for today. I think you are looking at lots of interesting reading, and if you want to discuss any of this “news”, this is what the comments section is for.

The glass is empty – but refill is on the way. Until the next time – cheers!

Ten Cabernet Sauvignon Facts For The Cabernet Day

August 31, 2012 3 comments
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes, Wikipedia

Today (or it might be yesterday, depending on when I will finish this post), on August 30th, we are celebrating Cabernet wines, which include some of the most coveted and sought-after wines in the world.

For this event, I want to talk a bit about Cabernet wines in general. While Cabernet wines often include both Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes, I want to focus today on the wines which have Cabernet Sauvignon as the only or at least a primary ingredient – I should save something (Cabernet Franc, to be precise) for an easy post next year, shouldn’t I?

For what it worth, here are ten facts about Cabernet Sauvignon – some might be actual facts, and some might be… myths? I will let you be the judge…

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon grape is relatively young, first appearing in 17th century as the result of the cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes (hence the name).
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are very small with the thick skin, which means that the ratio of seeds and skin versus pulp is quite high, leading to lots of tannins being extracted during maceration process. More tannins = bigger wine, which usually also can age for a long time, but on a flip side needs an additional breathing time to open up.
  3. Cabernet Sauvignon wines are successfully made all over the world, but the best known regions are Bordeaux, California, Tuscany and Australia. These main regions are closely followed by Argentina, Chile, Israel, Spain and South Africa.
  4. Typical flavor profile of Cabernet Sauvignon wines include black currant (Cassis), green bell peppers and eucalyptus (not necessarily all at the same time).
  5. Not all the Bordeaux wine are predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon based. The wines made in Médoc and all the sub-appellations (situated on the left bank of Garonne river) are actually based on Cabernet Sauvignon (70% is quite typical). The wines made on the right bank of Dordogne river are predominantly Merlot wines (typically containing about 70% of Merlot grapes). Some of the most successful Bordeaux wines, such as Chateau Petrus and Le Pin, are actually made out of Merlot.
  6. The oldest continuously producing Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world are located in Australia – it is Block 42 of the Kalimna Vineyard in the Barossa Valley, which belongs to Penfolds. It is assumed that the vines were planted between 1886 and 1888, which will give us an approximate age of 125 years.
  7. Typical California Cabernet Sauvignon wine needs about 13 years to reach its peak (see, I told you – patience is one of the important traits of oenophile).
  8. Malbec was the most popular grape in Bordeaux until early 18th century, when it was replaced by Cabernet Sauvignon.
  9. Cabernet Sauvignon holds the title of most expensive wine ever sold in the world. An Imperial (6L = 8 bottles) of 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon was sold at the auction (proceeds went to charity) for $500,000 in year 2000.
  10. When it comes to pairing with food, there are two combinations which are typically stand out. Cabernet Sauvignon and steak are usually go very well together, and same is true for Cabernet Sauvignon and dark chocolate (be advised – your mileage might vary).

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. I have to admit that I didn’t get a chance to drink Cabernet today (I promise to compensate tomorrow) – but I really want to know what was in your glass for the Cabernet day? Please comment below. Cheers!

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