This is the first of eight rounds of blind tastings at the local wine shop... Each week they'll focus on a single grape or varietal, allow the tasters to vote on their favorite, and then towards the end of the summer, all of the big winners will be tasted together. Saturday's grape of choice was Cabernet Sauvignon. Cab Sav is great, but I get kind of bored with it. To get a good one, it costs more than I'm willing to spend on a regular basis, and I have a lot of fun with the lesser-appreciated grapes and regions. I've also had several of these wines before and wasn't just thrilled with them.
Wine 1: 2001 Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon. Washington. High alcohol smell and taste, a little sweet with just a bit of black cherry flavors. Not impressed. $11.
Wine 2: 2002 Franciscan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. California. Actually a claret-style blend using four Bordeax grapes. Very dry with solid tannins. I think this will age pretty well. $32.
Wine 3: 2001 Chateau Souverain Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. California. High tannins, a bit harsh and almost Italian tasting. $20.
Wine 4: 2001 Recanati Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Israel. This is the second wine I've had from this producer. There's some nice complexity here, and definite potential for aging. Plus, it's kosher, and you're supporting Israeli agriculture. $27.
Wine 5: 2002 Paul Hobbs Cocodrilo Cabernet Sauvignon. Argentina. High alcohol with a port like aroma, but dry and short on fruit flavors. $15.
Wine 6: 2003 Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon. Chile. Good plum flavors, low tannins, and delightful youthfulness. Fun little wine and a good bargain. $11.
Wine 7: 2002 Henry's Drive Cabernet Sauvignon. Australia. Sweet and fully rounded, with medium tannins. Decent wine, not sure about the price. $37.
Wine 8: 2002 Bell Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. California. Lightly sweet and fruit-forward with good plum and black cherry flavors. A little thin. $41.
Wine 9: 2003 Marquis Philips Southeast Australia Cabernet Sauvignon. Lots of great fruit, smooth tannins, always a delight. $18.
Wine 10: 2002 Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon. California. Smoky and slightly herbal nose but not much in the way of flavor. $15.
Wine 11: 2002 Penfolds Thomas Hyland South Australia Cabernet Sauvignon. Firm beginning and smooth finish, very dark but not too heavy on the flavor. Well balanced. $15.
Wine 12: 2000 Javier Asensio Cabernet Sauvignon. Spain. The one wine that I really loved, and there's nothing on the website. This wine has left bank Bordeaux written all over it. Loved the aroma (green tomato leaves and spices), beautiful dark color, and great flavor. $24.
Wine 13: 2002 Block 13 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweeter, with soft tannins but a surprisingly firm finish. An odd duck, but not bad. $20.