Tag Archives: Cabernet Sauvignon

Downton Abbey Makes a Wine With No Class

by Andrew Chalk

It is ironic that a series whose attraction is it’s exploitation of the ‘cleavages within the English class system’ should produce a wine that is so existentially flat-chested. This the first time that I can remember a film or TV series co-branding with a wine rather than, say, ‘Downton Abbey Happy Meal’ at McDonald’s, or the like. Unfortunately, the monetarily incentivised producers have chosen a simple uninteresting industrial level red wine, the 2012 Downton Abbey ‘Claret’ Bordeaux as their go-to-market proposition. The white equivalent, 2012 Downton Abbey Blanc, Bordeaux is even worse, except that you can chill it to conceal its flaws.

The red smells of green pepper. The positive there is that it does, at least, contain Cabernet Sauvignon, one of Bordeaux’s signature varietals. The coop, or other industrial producer, that made it, just did not let the grapes get ripe. Quelle domage. Failed winemaking 101. In the mouth, the message is linear, one-dimensional, simplicity. Insipid fruit, and a short finish.     Continue reading

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Red Caboose Winery and Vineyards: Discovering a Texas Iconoclast

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by Andrew Chalk

At less than two hours drive from Dallas, Red Caboose Winery and Vineyards in Meridian, Texas is close to the big city. However, standing in the sixteen acres of vineyard, one could be miles from anywhere. Gary McKibben and his son Evan founded the winery in 2003 at this location because that is how they wanted it. Close to the city, but in the country (they were also concerned about Pierce’s Disease, and wanted to be north of Fredericksburg as a result). Evan handles the winemaking and Gary is a kind of cross between CEO and everything else.    Continue reading

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Gascon Releases a New Red Blend

DMG Winemaker Nesti Bajdaby Andrew Chalk

The Argentine winery Don Miguel Gascon (known mainly as just ‘Gascon’ in the U.S.) has established a devoted following for its malbec and Malbec Reserve. Now the winery has stepped out of the pure Malbec model to release a new wine that is a blend of Malbec with four other varieties. ‘Colosal’, as the blend is named, is 61% Malbec, 16% Bonarda, 13% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Last week, Gascon winemaker Ernesto Bajda, came through town and tasted me on the new wine, the 2011.

Much like a Bordeaux is a blend of up to five grapes that make the whole more than the sum of its parts, so the Mendoza-sourced Colosal takes Malbec as its core but adds other grapes to produce a more complex and unusual wine. Bonarda contributes dark color and fruit without requiring high alcohol. Syrah adds to the complexity through earthy notes and spices. Cabernet Sauvignon gives the wine structure.    Continue reading

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Don Melchor Shows How It Ages Over a Quarter of a Century

IMG_2272by Andrew Chalk

Can a Chilean wine age and improve for a quarter of a century? More expert Dallas wine tasters are saying ‘yes’ today after an impressive vertical showing by parent winery Concha y Toro of their flagship Don Melchor to a trade audience last week where i was an invited guest. Backed by the wine-friendly food and seamless service of The Capital Grille Dallas, winemaker Enrique Tirado made a presentation about Don Melchor and guided attendees through a tasting of the 1989, 1993, 2006 and 2009 vintages.

Don Melchor was the founder of Concha y Toro. The decision to name a wine in his honor came after a 1986 initiative by the head of the winery, Don Eduardo Guilisasti Tagle, to send his son along with the winery’s enologist to Bordeaux to meet with legendary French enologist and University Professor Emile Peynaud. They were to take samples of Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon wine from their Puente Alta vineyard for Peynaud’s assessment. Peynaud was impressed, and an agreement was struck with his business partner Jacques Boissenot to work with Concha y Toro to develop the wine. In 1987 the first product of that partnership, the first vintage of Don Melchor, was released to the market amid widespread acclaim.        Continue reading

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2010 William Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

w.hillby Andrew Chalk

If you have been watching Napa Cabernet Sauvignon prices recently, including here on Crave, they can easily go into the mid three digits. It is nice to find one that does not require a mortgage to purchase. The 2010 William Hill Estate fits the bill (pun intended) perfectly. At a suggested retail price of $40, it brings home the template of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon without the financial pain.

This wine is ready to drink now but will keep for 3-5 years if you prefer. Match it with the classic American pairing, steak cooked on the grill, or with lamb, or game. I recommend opening it about an hour before the meal to let it breathe. This will allow the blackberry fruit and lead pencil notes to emerge.

Widely available in the Dallas area.

 

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Lewis Wines: A Young Hill Country Winery With Big Aspirations

Doug Lewis for Andrew Chalk no watermark 2Doug Lewis (photo courtesy Miguel Lecuona)

by Andrew Chalk

As I accelerate out of Johnson City, travelling west on 290, I am careful to watch for two propane tanks on the left hand side of the road as I have it on good authority that the entrance right after them is Lewis Wines. Two oak barrels mark the site of the future sign that will tell travellers to the 290 wine route (the stretch of U.S. 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg along which literally dozens of Texas wineries exist either in name or in fact) that this is an open winery with a tasting room and it welcomes visitors.

I follow the driveway around a house and up a rise where, near a bluff of Austin stone, sits the corrugated steel building that is the winery. Duncan McNabb, winemaker greets me with a warm smile that says “I can’t believe you found us”. His dedication to the four-year old startup that is Lewis Wines is obvious when, on hearing my out of state accent, he explains that he is from LA where he was a pre-med student who was initially contracted to do some chemical tests on wine for Doug Lewis, after whom the winery is named, McNabb gave up entrance into the highest paid major profession in the world, American medicine, to make wine at a startup winery an hour north of San Antonio.     Continue reading

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50 Cabernet Sauvignons To Be Tasted At Sigel’s Annual Mega-Tasting

wineby Andrew Chalk

With the move into fall the root vegetable of choice to power our press release machine is parsnips. This just in from Sigel’s about an event that is Crave Recommended.

4th Annual California Benchmark Cabernet Tasting
50 Cabernets to be Tasted
Monday, September 30th  5:30-8pm
Park City Club     5956 Sherry Lane, Suite 1700
$55 per person

All the details below:

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