Offspring of the Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most renowned red grapes of the world, rivalled only by Merlot for worldwide plantings and popularity.
Its power base is in Bordeaux and especially on the Left Bank in Medoc and Pessac-Leognan, but it is grown in virtually all parts of the New and Old World.
This delicious example is from Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. I opened the first bottle of this (magnum) in 2014 at 11 years old, and the second in January 2022 at 19 years old. Both were outstanding examples and I could have waited a good 7 or so years on the second tasting.
Magnum – February 2014 (11 years old) – This wine is deep ruby with generous legs. On the nose it’s clean and still developing with pronounced aromas of ripe red fruit (raspberry, red currant, dried strawberry) and deep blackberry, the kind you pick on wild vines in August. There is significant vanilla along with nutmeg, sweet cedar, light kid glove leather and a slight quality of sage. The palate is dry with good acidity and ripe tannins with the slightest and most satisfyingly small streaks of grip. There are flavours of Damson and red plums, black and red currants, more dried strawberry and ripe blackberry. Significant spice box, sweet tobacco and vanilla complement the finish.
Bottle – January 2022 (19 years old) – I was concerned when I started on the cork and it crumbled and fell into the bottle. I had stored this bottle appropriately and carefully – on its side and in proper cellar conditions – but the cork had to be strained out. Luckily, there was no problem with the wine at all despite this. Translucent ruby with classic aromas of blackberry, cassis, and vanilla pod, there was great acidity and flavours of more purple fruit and raspberry with capiscum and leather belt. The tannins were ever-so-slightly scratchy and loved our prime rib. This wine was super alive at 19 years old and has plenty of life left in it. If you’re holding, wait on opening!