Archive for the 'Cabernet Sauvignon' Category

Marcus James Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Type: Cabernet Sauvignon


Origin: Argentina

Year: 2007

Cost: $5.99

Rating: 4/10

Value: 5/10

Alcohol: 13%

Our opinion:

This was another one of our leftover “backup wines” for a party we had, along with the Marcus James Merlot.   We found it acidic and generally cheap tasting.   In fact, it was fairly offensive.  I suppose it was decent enough to finish 3/4 of the bottle, but leftover wine is a rare occurrence around here.  We saved it for cooking wine…

Marcus James seemed to have fairly decent reviews, but most of them for other years of the same or other varietals.  We didn’t think much of the 2007 wines.  In this price range we would stick with the Waltzing Vine shiraz.  For a lower price you could even crack open a Macaroni Grill Merlot 1.5 Liter and have plenty left over for cooking…

Others Say:

Once again we appear to be outnumbered.. general consensus seems to think this is a decent wine.  Perhaps we needed to aerate this one 5 times like we did with the Merlot, or maybe we needed to drink it with a meal. Or maybe it’s just not a good wine:

From “I truly remember this wine being pretty tasty on another occasion. And this time, I still thought it had a nice flavor with a good balance of tannins and acidity. But I also found it had a disagreeable sweet/sour twang to it that I suspect is acetic acid. This flavor really distracted me from the other more pleasing layers to a point where I did not enjoy it on its own….I tried it again the next day, thinking maybe the flavors would be different now that the bottle had been opened and recorked. While a sip confirmed that the acetic acid flavor was still there, to my surprise, I found that the unpleasant flavor more or less disappeared when I sipped it along with my dinner. In its place was a full, blackcurrant flavor with a pleasant bite of acidity-but not of the acetic acid variety.

From “Marcus James has been one of Argentina’s top exports for years. When we tasted the recent releases we were jolted out of complacency by the quality and value they offer. With grapes sourced in the perpetually sunny Mendoza valley and vinified under the eye of a team of the world’s best international winemaking experts, Marcus James wines are consistently good year after year.”

Nassau Valley Vineyards 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard Select

Type: Cabernet SauvignonNassau Valley 2006 Cabernet Suavignon Vineyard Select

Origin: Delaware

Year: 2006

Cost: $23.00

Rating: 8.5/10

Value: 7.5/10

Alcohol: 12.9%

Our opinion:

We visited Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes, Delaware during a weekend in good old Ocean City Maryland.  We were allowed to try 6 different wines from a list of about 12.  Both of us chose to try a few whites and reds, keeping primarily with the dry- and semi-dry-labeled wines.  This vineyard turns out a large number of very sweet vintages, which we don’t generally enjoy.

Unfortunately for us, this bottle was one of the most expensive ones they sold by a margin of about $10 over the standard, but rightfully so.  The bottle that we tasted in the store had a very distinct oak flavor to it, much more so than the 2005 bottle priced at $17.

The Cabernet Sauvignon tasted structured, smoky, and bold with a medium mouth feel and none of those harsh tannins that generally turns me off from the grape.  It was delicious and so we bought a bottle and drank it at home.

In the end it was nice to try a local wine that we thought competed with many of the California wines.  We really enjoyed the bottle we brought home with us.  In the end we do recommend this wine, but then again, for $23 there are probably a few we’d really enjoy in this price range.

Winemaker’s Notes:
Our 2006 Vineyard Select Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot.  100% of the grapes used to make this wine come from the estate vineyard here in Lewes, DE.

Others Say:

Not much, at least that we could find.  If you’ve tasted this wine please share your opinion with us!

Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Type: Cabernet Sauvignon

Origin: Chile – Colchagua Valley

Year: 2007

Cost: $9.00

Rating: 5/10 ? (at least unpaired with food)

Value: 6/10

Alcohol: 13.5%

Our opinion:

No, thanks. At least not to drink with. Thanks to the lovely folks at The Wine Bin in Ellicott City, I puchased this wine to add to my coq au vin. I asked for a cheapish wine (pinot noir to be specific, since I figured I needed a burgundy), and they upgraded me to a more full-bodied cabernet. The wine itself wasn’t awful by any means, but I wouldn’t recommend buying it to drink. We had a bottle of white during appetizers, and while waiting for the food to finish cooking, I offered up a taste of this wine to those with an empty glass. A couple of those ‘tastes’ got ditched when it was time to open the pinot for dinner. Clearly not a crowd pleaser… in my opinion it was too tangy and difficult to drink. The coq au vin, however, turned out quite flavorful and tasty. Buy to cook, not to drink.

I must disclaim, however, that others seem to disagree with us.  This wine got great reviews online.  Perhaps it needs to be drunk with a strong meat such as lamb to really enjoy.  But not by itself.

Bottle says:
Under the direct technical supervision of the Domaines, Los Vascos is committed to producing the finests consistent and balanced wines whose elegance and harmony are to be shared with discriminating connaisseurs around the world. This wine is fresh, gentle, consistent and very fruity, with a slightly spicy finish.

Others Say:


“On the nose, there is serious concentration emanating from the glass with ripe crushed black fruit dominated by black cherries, loganberries and soft sweet currants, followed by jammy licorice-laced plums, phenolic compounds, oak references, spices, tobacco leaf and earth-driven minerals.

In the mouth, this wine is a big mouthful of spiced black currant juice — true to the cabernet structure — then layered soft blackberries, wild cherries and elderberry fruit, leading into a seamless midpalate that is just ripe with black fruit and hints of mint and black tea.

This well-made wine is big and heady with a full-bodied character, yet so supple and fine in the tannin structure that it has a smooth, long finish that lingers with black currant pastilles and tobacco. It’s probably one of the more accomplished cabernets tasted out of Chile at this price in a long time.

Drink it now at its peak through 2009, and try it with herb-crusted rack of lamb grilled perfectly medium-rare.”

Pacific Peak Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine: Pacific Peak

Type: Cabernet Sauvignon

Origin: California, USA

Year: cannot find a year on this bottle! 1814??

Cost: $2.99

Rating: 5/10

Value: 6/10

Alcohol: 12.5%

Our opinion:

We bought this a while ago and thought it was a great value for the price, so we bought more. The next few bottles were pretty difficult to choke down. I don’t know what happened….

So today when we had an opportunity to try our Vinturi Wine Aerator, we decided to revisit our last bottle of this confusing wine. You want to love it, because it’s so cheap. Well at least we want to love it for that reason. After opening the bottle we poured a little directly into one glass with one of these nifty items which prevents drips and red ring-shaped stains on your table:

The other we poured through our new aerator:

Let me just say that Bernoulli’s law never mentioned anything about a swooshing sound. But it’s kind of cool to hear as you pour your wine through this little bubble into your glass.

Then came a taste-test. On the first sip neither tasted that great. In fact we were both initially disappointed at how bad the pacific peak was tasting. A few more sips and we decided that you could tell that one was a bit better than the other, though I admitted that in a blind taste test I’d be somewhat stumped. It was just very acidic and ..well.. cheap-tasting. Then again I’m not a big Cabernet Sauvignon fan, so that probably didn’t help.

I had an idea.. if the aerator improves the taste by a factor of X, then wouldn’t pouring the wine back through the aerator N times increase the drinkability of the wine by NX? I know what you’re thinking, you can’t do it too many times or you’ll be aerating INXS. We wouldn’t want that. So I just did it 2 times. Better!

Actually by the end of dinner, it was palatable and decent. On the second glass, I admit I did N = 3 aerations on poor pacific peak. Even better. I don’t want to wear it out, I mean we just got it… but, it’s doing its job!

I suppose in summary, if you want to drink this cheap wine, you better get the aerator, because it certainly does it make it taste better! I don’t know how to describe it, but I guess I would say it went from being heavy and tart to a bit lighter (hence the aeration???) and sweeter. Less tang. Or you could cook with this wine, because it’s cheap enough you won’t feel guilty not drinking it.

One last point I want to make. Or maybe a question… Where is the date on this wine?!? Why would they hide it?? What else are they trying to hide….

Winemakers Notes:

California- Deeply colored and full flavored with essence of dark cherries, cassis and blackberry, this wine eliminates thoughts that quality must be sacrificed for value. Strong, firm tannins and explosive fruit flavors make this wine a natural friend of food. {Intense, Dark Cherry, Cassis, Full-bodied}

Others Say:
Surprisingly very good things… with the exception of a few.
From Total Wine:

“This wine is excellent; great bouquet, nice clean taste, and excellent dry cherry finish. That’s about as haute wine as I will get. Those high class reviewers who didn’t know if they would use it for cooking, can go on paying $30-40 or more per bottle, I’ll be happy with Pacific Peak. Come to think of it… I also used it for an excellent sauce of mushrooms and artichoke hearts.”

“Best everyday wine I have found to date. Good taste and extremely low price. This is a medium body wine with a very soft finish. It receives a higher rating because of the price. Of course it’s not as good as a $10+ wine, but at $3.99 it’s an amazing value. If you’re looking for something you can easily afford to enjoy every day, this is a good one.”

“I believe that wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. But this isn’t good. I’d rate it no better than a cooking wine – and I’m not sure what your food would pick up from it.”

Anakena Chile Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Wine: Anakena

Type: Cabernet Sauvignon

Origin: Chile

Year: 2007

Cost: $8.99

Alcohol: 13.5%

Rating: 7/10

Value: 7/10

Our opinion:

It’s hard to compare this wine to others, seeing as it has such a different taste. It was almost peppery and spicy. By itself, and without decantering a while, it was offensive. Give it 20 minutes without touching your glass, and it rounds out nicely. Try it with some beef fajitas, and it’s delicious. Even after the food is gone, the wine is good. Not one we’d have every night, but certainly once every few weeks given the right opportunity.

Others Say:

“Nice deep purple color; earthy aromas with enough fruit to provide a nice balance. Has a nice smooth taste with nicely balanced fruit. Long finsh. A great value wine