Monday, October 29, 2012

#CabernetDay 2012, Graffigna, Jacob's Creek, and Owen Roe Come to Dinner

This past August, wine lovers around the world celebrated "Cabernet Day", as if one of the world's most popular grapes needed any more attention. It doesn't, but any excuse to drink cabernet-based wines is welcome. Up here in pinot noir country, I rarely get my hands on cabernet, though I've noticed an increasing thirst (see what I did there?) for cabs (to use wine-geek shorthand) of late. Perhaps my palate is getting burned out on pinot noir?

Rambling aside, Rick Bakas of..well..many things wine and food, started this two years ago to promote cabernet and cabernet-growing regions. Each year has seen the "buzz" grow, as well as more important metrics like the number of participants. I noticed tweets and Facebook posts coming from around the world as wine stores and wineries hosted special events, wine lovers hosted parties, and regular ol' wine geeks like me popped bottles of cabernet.

Participants communicated via Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, using the hashtag #CabernetDay. Of note, many people used the more traditional "face to face" method of communication. No, these weren't wine hipsters bent on being ironic, but wine lovers who realize the importance of sharing wine in person.

Like many bloggers, I was sent bottles as samples, with the hope that I would open and tweet about what I was having (and of course, use the #CabernetDay hashtag). Being a somewhat nice guy, I played along. It didn't hurt that the two samples I received were pretty tasty, or that the special bottle Becky and I opened was a stunning Washington cabernet from Owen Roe.

2009 Jacob's Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra: A nicely priced Australian Cabernet Sauvignon. Jacob's Creek makes a lot of wine, so this one is easy to find. Priced between $7 and $13, I found this to be a nice value for the money, especially at the lower end. The bouquet was full of ripe red and black berry fruit, eucalyptus, and leather. Once tasted, I found notes of the aforementioned fruit, along with oak, mocha, menthol, and dusty soil. It was very pleasant and the complexity surprised me for the price.

2008 Graffigna Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: An Argentine Cabernet with some age on it, now things are getting interesting. I was especially intriuged because I made the mistake of reading some previous reviews of this Cabernet Sauvignon before I got around to tasting it. Of those, Stephen Tanzer, whom I respect greatly, gave this an 88 points. To me, that's a fine score! After sitting open for several hours, I liked the black currant and cherry notes, leather, and wood smoke. It's a full-bodied wine, still drinking a bit young and unintegrated, but overall a fun, good quality cabernet. SRP $15.

2008 Owen Roe Cabernet Sauvignon 1973 Block Red Willow Vineyard: Becky brought this home to open, and we're glad we did! Here is my review from "Gorgeous wine. Absolutely gorgeous. The bouquet is full of anise, leather, mocha, and dusty mineral notes. On the palate it's rich and complex, showing plenty of black fruit, salted meat, and bittersweet chocolate flavors. Integrated tannin lends a supple structure, and a surprising amount of acidity helps keep the balance. I could see this wine improving for another10 years, easily. It needed a solid two hours in the decanter, but is now showing as one of the best domestic cabernets you can buy for under $100."

And there you have it, Cabernet Day 2012, as told from Forest Grove. Two fun, solid wines and one stunningly good expression of the grape.

The first two wines featured here were recived as media samples.

Beau Carufel

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