Posts Tagged With: Cabernet Sauvignon

A Beringer Knights Valley “4 for 1”!

I titled this post “4 for 1” because I am doing four Beringer wines, all from Knights Valley. The first three are all Cabernet Sauvignons from the 90’s and the fourth is the ’04 Aluvium, a Merlot dominated blend.

Wine Information for the Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon’s is unavailable! Even in the vast world of the interwebs, I couldn’t find specifics on the three back vintages.

My Tasting Notes –

1990: nice red fruit, hints of chocolate and cherry with an interesting note of adzuki or white bean. Still a decent amount of tannins and acidity – I just felt it was a bit tired, but still impressive for a 20 year old Cabernet.

1992: A bit of funkiness, the good kind, leather and earth laced with black currant on the nose. More funk on the palate, with additional blackberry and more red fruit notes interlacing in the mid palate. Smooth and rich, with great leathery tannins. Again impressive for its age, my favorite of the bunch.

1995: Oak was the first thing that hit me, and the fruit was a little muddled on the nose. Good notes of black cherry, fennel and more toasty oak and vanilla notes on the palate. Huge tannins for the age, surprising, and a little overwhelming as I don’t think it had the fruit to back it up. Felt a little disjointed but maybe just needs more time, seeing how impressed I was with the ’92.

I had the above wines at a tasting group that I attend once a month, and these were a treat that one of the girls brought for us to enjoy. On the way home, I thought I needed to keep the Beringer Knights Valley train going, so I opened a 2004 BKV Aluvium.

’04 Aluvium Information –

Appellation: Knights Valley
Grapes: 74% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: $21

My Tasting Notes-

Nose: wet pine, blackberry, soy, kirsch, tomato pasted
Taste: black currant, cassis, black cherry, suede, fennel
Mouthfeel: full body, leathery – fuzzy tannins
Finish: long and fruity

Impressive, as I’m not partial to California Merlot in general. Enthusiast gave it a 93 and said to drink through 2010. I can almost agree with that high of a rating, as it was really good, but I think it can roll for quite a few more years, it is definitely not on it’s last leg.


Categories: $20-$30, wine review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Tuesday Quick Sip – 2006 Merryvale Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon

2006 Merryvale Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Information –

Region: Napa Valley
Vineyards: Merryvale Estate Vineyard (St. Helena Appellation), Bayview- Oakville & Oak Knoll
Grapes: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16 % Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
Oak: 15 months in French Oak (20% new)
Price: $25 – $30

My Tasting Notes –

nose: interesting “raw pumpkin”, fresh cut tobacco, cassis, blackberry
taste: blackberry, black cherry, cedar, vanilla bean, clove
mouthfeel: full body, leathery tannins
finish: dusty dry finish

The nose was a bit tight, as it took a minute to open up. The palate was very nice and full bodied with a smooth vibrant finish. Nice Cab – that wasn’t too oaky, with nice fruit and secondary flavor and aroma characteristics that don’t usually show up until the wine is a little older.


Categories: $20-$30, napa, wine review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Kickin’ it old school!

My friend Greg invited me over to his house yesterday for a little geek fest over some old vintage Virginia wines. He was opening a ‘97, ’99 and ’02 Barboursville Cabernet Sauvignon with the ’99 being a Reserve. In the spirit of opening old Virginia wine, I took over a recent discovery in my cellar, a 1984 Rapidan River Riesling.

1984 Rapidan River Riesling

We started with the Riesling, which was tasting better than I thought it would, but still not that great and definitely past it’s prime. The cool part about this Riesling, besides the fact that it’s an ’84 from VA, but it was also made about 10 miles from where I grew up, 7 years after I was born. The cork showed some seepage and was really loose when I pulled it out, and although old, I think the darker golden color of the wine was due to an influx of air over time. All that being said, this was a textbook example of gasoline, diesel fuel aromas on an aged Riesling with hints of burnt sugar (caramel). Unfortunately most of the fruit was gone on the palate, hints of apricot and honey did show up for a second, but were quickly dissipated by the watery finish. All in all, better than I expected for an old wine made from a grape that doesn’t thrive here in the state.

1997, 1999 & 2002 Barboursville Cabernet Sauvignon (99 was Reserve)

On to the Cabernets….

We started with the ’97 which was tasting good but unfortunately seems a bit past it’s peak. Not a whole lot of fruit left, the nose showed aromas of cedar, anise, cocoa and a hint of funk. The palate had a nice dose of cranberry, baking spice, tobacco leaf and leather accompanied by a smooth medium body. The finish was really short, faded away soon after swallowing. Impressive for a 13 year old Cab from Virginia.

More impressive was the ’99 Reserve, still showing notes of dark fruit both on the nose and palate. Specifically, heavy doses of black cherry interlaced with leather shop aromas. The taste buds were picking up flavors of blackberry, spice box, cedar, pine and red clay. Tannins were still present in this guy, showing a nice velvety texture. I think the ’99 isn’t past it’s prime but it’s definitely on the downhill slope.

The 2002 had a great nose of red currant, and raspberry with a bit of sweet cedar and eucalyptus. Sounding great right? Well on the palate I got cork taint, boo! It was subtle at first but for me it definitely built up over the course of the glass and by the end of it, all I could taste was musty newspapers. The group didn’t agree with me completely but thought something might have been a bit off. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.

I think the ’99 Reserve was the winner for me, as well as everybody else. It was definitely a fun time – tasting some old Virginia wine. Some good, some bad, as is the case when opening older vintages, you never know what you’re going to get.


We also opened an ’81 Richter Riesling that I’ll review on a separate post.

Categories: virginia wine, wine review | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Quick Sip on a Wednesday with the 2006 Elizabeth Spencer Cabernet Sauvignon

2006 Elizabeth Spencer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Wine Information –

Appellation: Napa Valley

Sub-Appellations: St. Helena, Howell Mountain, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, and Mt. Veeder

Grapes: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc

Cooperage: 20 months in 100% French Oak

Price: $32

My Tasting Notes –

Nose: boysenberry, black currant jam, roasted meat, brown sugar and suede

Taste: blackberry, sweet cedar, eucalyptus, mocha, black currant

Mouthfeel: full body, leathery to dusty tannins, just a bit spicy

Finish: long and tight – black currant flavors dominating the finish

The Cab was very good and I have enjoyed almost all of the Elizabeth Spencer wines I’ve tasted. The 2006 Napa Cab is still young though it is does taste good now. The structure just needs a little more time to balance out, as it is still a little rough around the edges.


Categories: $30-$40, cabernet, napa, wine review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Drinking extremely well – 1999 B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Once again my job as store manager of a wine shop has provided me the opportunity to taste some fabulous wine. About a week ago, we opened up the 1999 B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($96) to see how it was drinking. Well, I am here to say that it is drinking extremely well right now, as it should I guess for almost 100 bones!

B.R. Cohn was founded by Bruce Cohn, who was road manager for the Doobie Brothers and is located in Glen Ellen, California in the heart of Sonoma County. The Olive Hill Estate Cab is their premium released wine and thus their most expensive.

Soils warmed by underground natural hot springs combined with warm days and nights cooled by gentle coastal breezes, work together to create a unique microclimate resulting in ideal growing conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon.

For more detailed information on the Olive Hill Estate Vineyard check out this excellent PDF –

Also B.R. Cohn has a great PR video on their website and YouTube, check it out below.

Not a whole lot of production information on the wine other than that it spent 18 months in French Oak barrels and that it is 13% alcohol.

1999bRCohnOliveHillMy Tasting Notes –

Nose: mocha, smoke, brown sugar, blackberry and black cherry

Taste: cedar, hints of menthol, cassis, black currant, tobacco and oak

Mouthfeel: full and leathery mid-palate, leathery yet fine grained tannins

Finish: long and long, with hints of dark fruit and leather notes

This wine was killing it, and kept getting better and better revealing more and more flavor notes. I feel it is at it’s prime, but with the structure and fruit that the wine exhibited it will still be going for another few years. Of course I always have a hard time paying $100 for a wine, but this wine is extremely well balanced, structured, elegant yet powerful and already aged for ya. If you can find a bottle and want a great wine for a special occasion, pick it up.


Categories: $40+, cabernet, sonoma, wine review | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Quick Sip – 1998 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

1998 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Information:

Appellation: Napa Valley, California (Calistoga)

Grapes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Oak program: 18 – 20 months

Price: $30/ 375ml bottle

1998MontelenaMy Tasting Notes:

Color: dark brick red, slightly brown at the edges

Nose: slightly oxidized and “portish”, fresh corn tamale, tobacco

Taste: raisin, blackberry, suede, red clay, and tart cranberry at the back of the palate

Mouthfeel: full body but on the lighter side, still velvety rich tannins and “spicy” acidity

Finish: long with dark fruit and leathery notes

This is my first time tasting a Chateau Montelena wine as well as my first time tasting a ’98 Napa wine. Although slightly oxidized on the nose, it blew off after while and gave way to interesting corn tamale and tobacco notes. I was impressed with the structure, still alive and well but on the down side for sure. I have another bottle of this that I’ll probably drink very shortly, and will be excited to see if it will show as well.


Categories: $30-$40, napa, wine review | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Tuesday Quick Sip – Krupp Brothers 2003 Veraison Cabernet Sauvignon

2003 Krupp Brothers Veraison Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Info –

Appellation: Napa, Oakville

Vineyard: Stage Coach, Southside of Pritchard Hill

Grapes: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 1% Cabernet


Cooperage: 18 months in Taransaud French Oak barrels

Price: ~$65

2003veraisonMy Tasting Notes –

Nose: chocolate, blackberry, cassis, leather

Taste: huge juicy fruit, lots of chocolate, blackberry, toasty oak, brown spice and toasty oak

Mouthfeel: full body with big well developed velvety tannins

Finish: very long with concentrated dark fruit flavors

This is a big boy California Cab. The fruit is right up front on the aromatics as well as on the palate, but is very rich and not “juicy juice”. The chocolate overtones compliment the black fruit flavors and the splash of toasty oak very nicely and the years have been kind to the tannins that are rounded out nicely. Not cheap in the slightest but would be a nice treat for a Saturday night!


Categories: $40+, cabernet, wine review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Wine Blogging Wednesday #56 – Kosher Wine

This months Wine Blogging Wednesday #56 is brought to us by CorkDork and he asks us to try and write about Kosher wines on this last day of passover. My kosher wine for this WBW is the 2005 Fortant Cabernet Sauvignon Vin De Pays D’Oc. These wines are approved by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations signified by the letter U circled on the label, and certified kosher for Passover (indicated by the letter p on the label.

The Fortant Cabernet Sauvignon is also certified Yayin Mevushal signifying the wine has been fermented and flash pasteurized. The Mevushal process is performed according to MEHADRINE standards (92°C flash pasteurization) without degrading the quality of the wine. This process helps stabilize the wines color, tannin and fruit and allows it to remain kosher if the bottle is handled by non-Jews.

Not much else is offered on the wine as far as wine making, involving cooperage or vinification techniques, but the wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

fortant-kosher-wineMy Tasting Notes:

Nose: “portish”, fig, raisin, cassis

Taste: raisin, raspberry, touch of earth, green pepper

Mouthfeel: medium body, decent acidity leaning toward the high side, suprising leathery tannins

Finish: dusty from the tannin sticks around but the flavor profile is gone rather quickly

Not sure what I think of this wine, it has a $13 wine structure but a $5 flavor profile and finish. The wine definitely smells as if it has been cooked a bit and I honestly don’t understand how it couldn’t seeing as it was flash pasteurized at 92ºC (197ºF), that’s pretty hot. The wine wasn’t bad, don’t get me wrong, it just wasn’t that good..

Before this post I had no idea what signified a Kosher wine, so although the wine was so so, I did learn something new in the process. Thanks CorkDork for suggesting this topic and to Lenn Thompson of LennDevours for the conception of Wine Blogging Wednesday.


Categories: $10-$20, Wine Blogging Wednesday, wine review | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Tuesday Quick Sip: 2005 Cartlidge & Browne Cabernet Sauvignon – Snow Lake Vineyard, Red Hills Lake County

Wine Info

Appellation – Red Hills, Lake County

Vineyard – Snow Lake

Grape – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, clone 337 and 15

Aging – 60% American, 40% French for 17 months

Price – $23

2005cbcabernetlakecountyMy Tasting Notes

Color – deep garnet

Nose – black tea, boysenberry, cherry, toast, caramel

Taste – cedar, cassis, oak, blackberry, cherry, vanilla

Mouthfeel – slightly spicy with full roundness leading to leathery tannins

Finish – long and dusty

For a solid Cab in the $20 – $25 range this one definitely fits the bill. Classic Cab flavors and a big full body with well structured but not overpowering tannins. We had the 2005 Cartlidge & Browne Cabernet with a rich “green and white” lasagna and it paired very well.


Categories: $20-$30, cabernet, wine review | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Easy Drinking Cabernet

*disclaimer – I received this wine for review from the California Wine Club


I received the 2003 Century Oak Lodi Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from the California Wine Club about 2 months ago along with their 2005 Red Table Wine.


Century Oak is a 12,000 case, family owned winery located in Lodi California.  Situated just south of Peltier road and the town of Acampo, the Housley family has created a winery that is focused on quality not quantity.  After growing grapes for many years near the Stags Leap district of Napa, they Housleys decided they would like to put their grape growing talent into making wine of their own.  Their estate consists of a 56 acre property 37 of which contain estate grown grapes (primarily Cab), in addition they own several vineyards and get grapes in the surrounding Lodi area.


The 2003 Estate Cabernet is 100% of the varietal and was grown on the Century Oak estate.  After resting in a mix of French and American Oak for the approximately 20 months, it was released in October of 2005.


My Tasting Notes

Color – dark purple with hint ruby at the fringes

Nose – blackberry, black currant, anise

Taste – black cherry, cedar, thyme, custard, cranberry

Mouthfeel – medium body, slightly thin across the mid palate, firm tannins

Finish – medium in length and quite fruity


This is a very easy drinking, affordable Cabernet Sauvignon. Tons of dark fruit flavors and aromas, the 20 months in oak were not very present (a good thing for me) except for the nice cedar flavors that came through.  I think the release price was $17 but you can get it from the California Wine Club for around $11 which is a pretty great deal.  This didn’t knock my socks off but it was definitely a nice bottle of wine, especially if you are looking for a more fruit driven style of Cabernet Sauvignon.


I’ll end with the Century Oak motto: “Not all expensive wines are great and not all great wines are expensive”. Hear hear!



Categories: $10-$20, wine review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Oberon 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon (100%)

Oberon 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon (100%)

Origin: Napa Valley(A) $21.95

Color: Deep Red

Nose: Very Fruity empasized by Raspberry and Blackberry; There was also a richness to the aroma that I couldn’t quite identify(maybe coffee) but it smelled awesome.

Taste: Wonderfully rich raspberry with cinnamon and earthiness rounding out the finish

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth with just enough structure to hold it together at the end

Finish: Medium in length

Megan and I picked this up about a month ago at a Friday night tasting at the Wine Cellar. It is a great Cab, not too tannic(could use a bit more), not too earthy, just right. A little fruitier than most cabs but a very good wine. We just tried their 2003 Merlot at last Friday’s tasting and it was quite good as well.

Categories: $20-$30, wine review | Tags: , | Leave a comment