Well friends, the holidays are over. Gone are the family visits, the hours spent languishing on the couch, and the never-ending feasting on delicious treats.
But before we continue boldly into 2016, let’s recap a few highlights of my holidays.
- 10 – Days spent at my parent’s place, being fed and wined to my heart’s content
- 5+ – Bottles enjoyed with family and friends that were at least 10 years old
- 3 – Litres in the bottle my family enjoyed at Christmas dinner (a double magnum!)
- 2 – Bottles generously given to me on Christmas morning (a 2008 Rioja and a 12yr DoubleWood Balvenie, if you must know)
All in all a delicious and productive holiday, if you ask me.
And now, it’s time for another installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. Last time we tasted our way through the Tempranillo grape. Now, as we taste the first of the last three reds, we turn our attention to one of the most well known varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon.
About the Noble Grape Challenge
I know, I know, it’s been a while since we did this. Let me refresh you – Wine Folly created the Noble Grape Challenge as a way to learn the spectrum of flavours and characteristics found in red and white wines. Taking nine reds and nine whites, we’ll go through them from lightest to darkest, learning about the key characteristics and flavours of each.
About Cabernet Sauvignon
Unsurprisingly, France grows the most Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, buuuuuuuut they usually blend it with other things. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the main five varietals of the Bordeaux region, and most (if not all?) wines in that region are blends.
Also, did you know that the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is actually a hybrid? It’s true! Check out the centre column of the adorable drawing below.
See? Cabernet Franc + Sauvignon Blanc = Cabernet Sauvignon!
I’ll wait while you recover from your newly blown mind.
Cab Sauvs are one of the more fuller bodied reds out there, and tend to be more opaque but still reddish in colour. Flavours found often include dark fruits and black pepper. Generally speaking this is a confident wine that you could drink with other stronger flavours (a burger or some full-flavoured cheese, perhaps) or sip on its own.
The Test Case
To delve more intentionally into the world of Cab Sauv I chose to try the Art de Vivre 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon by Gerard Bertrand. I’ve told you about Gerard Bertrand before – this is one of my favourite winemakers. I have yet to be disappointed by any wines I’ve had from them. Or is it him? Either way, the wine is great, and you should try it immediately.
Right off the bat I could see some age in the colour. It was still decidedly red, but there were some brownish undertones that tell me this isn’t a wine that was bottled yesterday.
It smelled nice and bright and quite fruity. I came back to it the next day and smelled lots of depth and earth, too. I love how much wine changes over time once you open it, always full of surprises!
The flavour was full of fruit – all I could think of was ‘red fruit’ but, as usual, couldn’t pin it down more than that. I was intrigued and excited to taste some black pepper too, it helped balance the fruitiness. As expected, on day two the flavour had softened quite a bit. It got more velvety and I tasted some vanilla that wasn’t present the first night.
A wonderful and enjoyable Cab Sauv. I know I’m a bit of an omnivore when it comes to wine (there is very little I don’t like) but I do think this is a really solid wine, and in keeping with everything else I’ve had from this maker.
But does it taste like what we now know a Cabernet Sauvignon should taste like? You bet it does! Full bodied and fruity, with some lovely peppery-ness when you take a sip – this is a great example of a Cab Sauv.
It’s also a great example of a wine that can be enjoyed over a couple of nights. No need to finish it on night one – you should get a bottle just for you and taste it over two or three evenings to see how it changes.
Well, that was fun! It’s nice to be back in the swing of things.
Next up – Syrah!