Woodbridge Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Robert Mondavi founded Woodbridge Winery in 1979 near his early home as a child in California. His goal was to craft “fine wines” for everyday drinking. This wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon, offers notes of blackberry and dark cherry with suggestions of toast and spice as well. Wine, he says, is “passion” to him, along with “family and friends, warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.” It’s a moderately priced wine that makes an ordinary meal extraordinary.
Sanguis Christi 2002 Cahors
This lovely Malbec has a distinctive nose of black fruits from Cahors in southwest France, It is dark and rich with spicy notes of black cherry and hints of cedar. Flavorful and distinctive, it complements meats well and offers its unique notes to the meal.
As we move toward late Spring/early Summer, we’re still drinking red wines as well as moving into the whites and rosés that sing of summer. Here are two that fit the season well – not overly rich and heavy, but well balanced. Both are wines that offer value to the restaurant and the consumer as the price points are modest ($10 retail range) and both are well made and a good fit for every day drinking.
GNARLY HEAD Malbec – Grown in Argentina (Mendoza) in vineyards located in the high eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, the wine offers a nose of dark berries – think blueberry and blackberry. The 2016 vintage saw what its winemakers call an “outstanding harvest” with bold, juicy concentrated fruit. It’s a big wine for a small price, 13.5 percent ABV, and somewhat like Argentinian Zinfandels in style. The name is for the gnarly vines of the grapes that twist around. This particular harvest was deemed “outstanding, exciting and somewhat unexpected.” It’s a nice surprise for a relatively inexpensive bottle to offer such depth of flavor. Visit www.gnarlyhead.com.
SMOKING LOON – This Cabernet Sauvignon is a product of Chile, imported and bottled by Smoking Loon Winery in Napa, CA. Rich and savory, it’s well balanced with notes of blueberry, dried cherry, and a hint of nuts, black raspberry, red currant and notes of vanilla and even coconut. It’s aged in American oak and is 13.5 percent ABV. Check it out at www.smokingloon.com.
This delightful Amancaya Gran Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec 2011 was the second joint venture in creating a premium wine between DBR (Lafite) and the Catena family. It’s a blend the combines the elegance of Cabernet Sauvignon with the fruit of Argentina’s Malbec and bears the name of a mountain flower found growing in the Andes. The grapes, from the Catena family’s vineyards, were all more than 30 years old and from an altitude between 800 and 1499 m.
The wine was aged for a year in French oak barrels, 20% of which were new.
The final product was deep crimson with a nose of red and black fruit, red currants and plums and touches of mint and cedar. The bouquet has vanilla, spices and mocha notes from the oak barrels. With pleasant, well balanced tannins, the resulting wine was 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 70% Malbec, with 15% ABV. It’s rich and flavorful, delivering elegance from the joint venture, known as Bodegas Caro.