Sip On This: Cabernet, a Safety Net
Cabernet Sauvignon is probably one of the most popular wine grapes in the world. It’s the classic pairing for red meat and is considered one of the finer varietals from any region. To some people, it is kind of a wine safety net. It’s always reliable and on basically every restaurant list in the world. Before you can really get into the nitty gritty of the best Cabernet producers out there, you need to know what makes it so special.
Cabernet is a thick-skinned wine grape that grows reasonably well in most areas of the world. It is famously grown in California, Washington, South America, France and Australia. A lot of people don’t know that it’s the result of a cross between Cabernet France and Sauvignon Blanc in France. By nature, it’s high in tannin and has medium acidity. It’s known to also be big in fruit flavors and have a slight vanilla note due to the wine barrel aging. Cabernet Sauvignon also has a long life expectancy; meaning most can age for a good while. The best way to age wine is in a dark, climate-controlled place. If you don’t have a wine refrigerator, a dark closet will do just fine.
So who out there is putting out the good cab juice? I’m glad you asked.
One of my absolute favorite wine producers does it around the world, not just in California. Paul Hobbs makes some incredible wines and they are always highly rated. He not only makes wine, but he consults other winemakers on their wines. When you’re good, you’re good. The Cabernet that I love of his is the Felino Vina Cobos Cabernet. He makes it in Mendoza, Argentina. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a rise in popularity for Cabernet from this region. It’s a beautiful deep, dark color. The flavors are very full, ripe red fruits with hits of sweet pipe tobacco. The finish is velvety smooth and begs for another sip.
California does know how to put out some great Cabernet. There is a small producer that has consistently put out world-class wine and they are Jonathon and Susan Pey. With fruit coming from Napa Valley, they produce Textbook “Mis en Place” Cabernet Sauvignon. I know what you’re thinking, that’s a bold statement to make with the name of your wine. Don’t you worry. It delivers on its promise as a “textbook” Cabernet. It is sourced and hand sorted from two single vineyard sites in the Oakville District creating a cohesive example of what this noble grape can be. This isn’t a heavier style of wine. It’s more elegant and soft. “Mis en place” has a velvety texture with gorgeous red fruit and a bountiful array of spice. This is a wine that is age worthy and should be decanted before enjoying.
Cab drinkers are common and it’s for a great reason. It’s a versatile grape for food pairing or just enjoying a glass. I encourage you to mix it up and see how different regions can make the same grape with completely different qualities. Try a new one or revisit an older one.