Cabernet Round-Up: "Get along little Doggies"

"Now, early in spring we'll round up the doggies..Mark 'em and brand 'em and bob off their tails...Round up the horses load up the chuck wagons...And follow the doggies on the lonesome old trail...Yippy ti yi yo get along little doggies..." ~ Chris Ledoux

According to The Wild West; "The American west featured all sorts of people from pioneers and scouts to lawmen, outlaws, gangs and gunfighters (gunslingers), to the American cowboy, and legendary pioneering women on the frontier." But in today's review, it won't be a down and dirty shoot'm up; oh-no instead it will feature a bang-bang, Colt-action style round-up of many of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignon's I've recently encountered, so sit back,buckle up, grab some popcorn, get your boots on, we've got a few "doggies" [in this case, young fresh Cabernet's] to catch.  

Now that spring has officially sprung; it's time for a round-up, time to cowboy-up and bring all those Cabernet's, some samples, some not, that have been waiting to be uncorked, review them and get ready to find a place in your cellar. Time to corral these wines, get them to the market, before the next cattle drive [aka, crates of vino] finds its way to my door-step. I'll also be including just one wine, which I have previously reviewed. A Cabernet Sauvignon's which I have had the good fortune to re-taste, recently and has wowed me again [I love when that happens].

1. 2009 DAOU Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve: A true gem from what is to become a rockstar winery in Paso Robles. This wine composed of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, produced from 100% free run juice. All though this wine is still a bit young and tightly wound, all the right pieces are in place for this very appealing blend, aromas of blackberry and licorice rush to meet you, on the first slurp deep flavors of cherry, tar and cigar box wrapped up in a neat package, plush ripe, firm tannins complete the picture. Score 91 points. Unfortunately, this wine is sold out, but having already tasted the final blend from the barrel, you better run and not walk to grab some of their 2010 as it's released, it's rock-star juice.

2. Justin Vineyard Isosceles 2009: Another Central Coast favorite; this wine was sent to me as a sample a few weeks back; it did not fail to deliver, an impressive showing. The wine is quite young, having been bottled just last year in the early summer. If you drink now, decant at least 3 hours, I'd recommend holding for a year before approaching it. A huge wine, which needs time to unwind and unfold in the glass, but once it does look out, you're in for a treat. Tight aromas of sweet blackberry tart, ripe blueberries are eager to say hello, while on the first slurp, a boatload of red and dark fruits, mocha, licorice and sweet but subtle smoky cedar note in the background, the finish is long and lasting. All this draped across obvious tannins, which are nicely ripe and soft. Again I’d hold it, for now, my score is 90 points and has an SRP of $58.  

3. 2008 Calcareous York Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine comes from the York AVA, a newer Central Coast hot-spot where the grapes hang-times are extended safely until the end of the fall; creating some nicely concentrated mouth-watering flavors and aromas. In the glass, a light crimson-colored core awaits the first splash, diving in nose first, a captivating perfume of sandalwood, lavender, dark-plum, and subtle spice box note. Meanwhile back at the first slurp; bang-bang--black cherry, red currant, a dusting of sweet baker’s chocolate. A medium-bodied wine with an elegant body, and with enough complexity to keep you coming back for more, loads of fruit, nice balance, and a long finish. This wine sells for a SRP of $34 and I gave it a score of 91 points.

4. 2008 Sequoia Grove 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon: Another tasty blend, 86% Cab. Sauv., 9% Merlot, 3% Cab. Franc, and the odd-man out 2% Syrah. A majority of the fruit used to produce this wine came from Rutherford fruit [57%] nearly a stretch to have it on the label. Described by the winemaker; as a "difficult vintage due to various factors, spring frost and summer fires filling the air with smoke". In the glass, a shiny ruby colored core, stuffing my fat-Irish nose down in the glass to get a quick whiff, lovely aromatics dusty berries, toast, and pleasant herbs. Just 6 more months in the bottle, delivered smooth seductive style, a creamy medley of mocha-laced currant, wild berry flavors are shaded by toasty oak, the finish long and generous. Nicely done; I scored this wine 90 points. Give it a swirl; it's a solid Napa Value!

5. Sean Minor 4 Bears 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine came to my attention and part of my collection, via a Christmas party last year and was part of randomized gift exchange where stealing other unknown gifts was fun and challenging. This wine was purchased at a place called, "Napa Style". Big thanks to Jeff and Grace; it rocked, great pick. Made in a drink now and drink often style, it comes dressed to impress, no fuss and no muss, a solid value for the everyday drinker. After you uncork this medium bodied bad-boy, loads of fleshy red and dark fruits, understated earth, mingling nicely subtle mineral and sage flavors, sprinkled with a dash of mocha, leaves ya with a happy ending [aka the finish]. It sells for an SRP of $15 most places and my score is a solid 89 points.

6. Beaulieu Vineyard Reserve Tapestry 2007: A classic Bordeaux "style", it leads the way with 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, nicely done. Unfortunately, I do believe the majority of this vintage is sold-out, but you may still be able to find some wine-stores if you look hard enough. That said, I uncorked this wine just last night, it paired wonderfully with PF Chang's Broccoli Beef, laid over freshly prepared organic free-range wild brown rice, I picked up last night on my way home from work. I got the sense this wine could have gone many more years in the bottle and knowing the fine reputation of this iconic Napa Valley staple, there is no doubt.

Here comes the tasting note; abundant aromas of black plum, vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon escape from glass, preparing me for the main event. Splashing upon my palate, a slap of black currant, Italian-roast coffee, rich leather, and bittersweet chocolate thing going on, nicely wrapped in velvety tannins which take time to be unlocked in the decanter before getting your wine on. This wine has an SRP of $48, but I've seen it for much less elsewhere, my score 91 points.

I hope you have enjoyed this round-up, lasso yourself up, some of these very tasty treats from the west, fill up those saddlebags and head home happy. Until next folks, sip long and prosper cheers!


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