Cabernet Day

In case you were asleep, or decided you didn’t want to look at the Internet or peruse most social media sites on Thursday…It was Officially Cabernet Day to anyone and everyone that loves wine!

Cabernet…considered the King of Grapes, is one grape that adds flare to any meal, conversation or party.  He is bold, strong, robust and at times, filthy.  Some of my favorite Cabernet smells are dark red berry, violet, gravel and raw meat.  Cabernet, depending on his region (yes, he’s officially, a HE) can range from smells of red berry, dark berry, chocolate, mineral, meat and pencil shaving.  Hints of eucalyptus, mint, green bell pepper, jalapeno and more can and do apply as well.

For instance….a Blind Tasting Component for me of Chilean Cab is ‘sliced jalapenos dipped in chocolate’ and of the region of Napa, fat rich dark berry fruit, sometimes of a briar bush but distinctly of dark cocoa as well.  Remember, Cabernet has a group of grapes he hangs with.  Specifically, his Queen:  Ms. Merlot.  Juicy and dripping with soul and voluptuous character, she’s a gem seated at the King’s right hand.  Others in his group include:  Cabernet Franc (meant for aromatics and acid), Petite Verdot (added to a blend for color), and Malbec (added for color along with flavor and spice).  Once these are together, we have what’s called:  A Bordeaux Blend.  Officially, the grapes of Bordeaux.  See?  Not that hard, right?

Most ‘Cabernets’ are a blend of one or some or all of the above however, there are a few gems out there that do ride 100% the varietal – all Cabernet.  In my opinion, the most interesting of sorts.  100% the varietal means, you really get to see what this baby’s soil tastes like.

Let’s pick apart the wines I had for the nite on Cabernet Day! (I want to preface this by saying, I shared with friends.  I didn’t drink them all myself!!)

Cabernet Day

2009 Hendry Rosé:  One of my favorite Napa producers.  George Hendry’s Rosé sometimes consists of a saignée blend (a bleed of) of the Bordeaux varietals, the 2009 that we enjoyed of Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel and Primitivo (Italian Zin).  We enjoyed this juicy, meaty rosé with a plate of cheeses to start.

2003 Almaviva Cab:  A French Philippe de Rothschild and Concha y Toro venture out of Chile.  This sucker was loaded with candied fruit, but perfectly balanced with a hint of dry gravel dirt and minerals.  So fab with our fresh farmer’s market eggplant.  Dipped in panko crumbs and fried to perfection, the wine picked up the sweet parts of our eggplant.  Awesome pairing!

2001 Pine Ridge ‘Andrus Reserve’ Cabernet:  This, a blend of Bordeaux varietals was aged, almost perfectly.  For a 9 year old wine, I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I keep drinking through my late ‘Gary Andrus’ Wines, and some are ready and some, past their prime.  This~ with dirty red fruit, meaty with raw tones to it, and lingered for days.  Really, really good and incidentally, GREAT with our heirloom tomato caprese salad.  The tomatoes were uber ripe and delicious with this wine!

2003 Villa Cafaggio ‘Cortaccio’:  A 100% Cabernet from Tuscany and always one of my favorite wineries from Tuscany.  This wine reeked of leather, dried herbs, red tomatoes and made me crave an Italian Meat Ragu.  Mouth-watering and really so wonderful with our main course ~ A grilled peppered tenderloin and fresh green beans sauteed with shallots.  Like candy, if you like dirty candy!  Truly, an Old World Gem.

Last on the table, but certainly NOT least:  2004 Cayuse ‘The Widowmaker’ Cabernet from Walla Walla.  From the works of my friend, Christophe Baron, this wine has sat in my cellar begging to be opened.  And with a Walla Walla, WA background – weirdly flinty, chocolaty, porky and full of blackberries, marionberries and blueberries – this wine was perfect with the molten lava chocolate cakes I made topped with candied bacon! Yum!

Overall, one of my new favorite holidays~ Cabernet Day! Perfectly paired with fabulous friends and delicious home-grown garden food, I’ll take a Grape Day over any day of the week… So, When do we celebrate Pinot Noir Day?

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