Uva Negra Cabernet Franc

Uva Negra Cabernet FrancWhat an interesting wine.  In researching this wine, I have discovered that the Cabernet Franc is a dark blue grape variety that is often compared to the cabernet sauvignon. Sure enough, this red is tannic, herbal and spicy. I think the aroma is different than a cabernet — the herbs and spices are much more prevalent in the franc than a sauvignon. There is a vanilla and graphite finish. I think it is fabulous. I love the strong, assertive bouquet and the aggressive tannic finish. Totally yummy. This Uva Negra Cabernet Franc is a keeper!

Lindemans Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Lindemans Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006Melody is still on the road, Trigger is still brooding in wait for her, and I’m tasting a Lindemans Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. It is pleasant tasting, although it comes off a bit as cab lite, not strikingly tannic, more merlot like. A strong fruit bouquet, but not quite as strong in actual taste. All in all, a pleasant, New-World-tasting wine, but not one that you would give to someone and say, “This is what cabernet sauvignon tastes like.” Instead, I would give someone last evening’s Bin 50 Shiraz to show off Lindemans in its best light.

Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz 2006

Trigger brooding

Melody is traveling so Trigger and I are on our own. (Trigger copes by brooding on a bed until Melody returns.)

Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz 2006

I’m trying a Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz 2006. It has medium acidity, bold berry fruit flavors, spiciness, slightly sweet. Bright ruby color. A great representative of the Australian shiraz. Would be good with most food. Not at all like the austere cabs we’ve been leaning toward lately of course (you feel like you’re drinking something aimed at American palates), but very likable and drinkable. A great value.

Trinchero Cabernet Sauvignon (2003)

Trinchero Cabernet Sauvignon 2003Oh, this is yummy. A lovely spicy full-bodied cabernet with pepper on the nose and a very smooth and velvet finish.  I can detect vanilla, anise and blueberries in the palate. I would purchase Trinchero Cabernet Sauvignon again.

This wine will pair well with our hamburgers and salad for dinner tonight.  Tom bought this wine for me at a local wine shop.

Tom: This is quite a delicious cabernet, a nice blend of fruit flavor and tannicity. Berry flavors, and dry but not to the extreme. Notes of tobacco and leather (if that doesn’t sound too wine-speaky). As we’ve said in other posts about other wines, in a blind tasting one would guess this to be an Old World wine: dry and not fruit bomby.  

Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2004Melody: This Castle Rock cabernet sauvignon has a cough syrup quality, maybe more postively referred to as cassis. This wine is not to my particular taste and I would not choose to purchase this wine a second time but it will be interesting to see what Tom thinks. On the positive side, it has a luscious mouthfeel. But, again, a bit too cloying for my taste.

Tom: This is a bone-dry, Old World-tasting red. In a blind tasting you would guess that it’s French. Certainly not the fruitiness of Australians and other New World wines. It would function as a good red French table wine. It has a slightly austere, slightly antiseptic quality (which is probably what Melody isn’t thrilled about). I think this wine would do better paired with food than on its own. I even think it would do well paired with something like chocolate; it has a big tannic taste that would stand up to it and complement it. The learning here for me is that California is totally capable of channeling typically French-tasting everyday table wines.

Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône (2003)

Belleruche Cotes-du-RhoneWe are finishing this bottle of Belleruche Cotes-du-Rhone tonight after opening last night. It is always interesting to taste a wine after it has been decanted to see the effect. I notice a greater aroma of cured meats. This wine has good body, a firm mouthfeel and plenty of acidity. There is a very fruity taste on the front of the tongue, with definite tannins and minerals in the finish. A dry and satisfying, lovely French wine.

M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-Du-Rhône 2003

M. Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes-Du-RhoneTom: This is an interesting, full-flavored, big-bouquet, dry red table wine. This is another excellent wine that we picked up at A&L Wine Castle in Ann Arbor. I pick up some smoky, tobacco-y taste and some fruit, maybe blackberry or blueberry. This is a red-wine drinker’s wine. It takes your spit away, as my father would say.

Melody: Yum. This is quite delicious. It is a deep, translucent ruby red. The aroma is of bacon, pepper, spice and fruit. It is full bodied and firm. I especially enjoy the level of acidity. This has a definite mineral finish which is long and satisfying.

Michel Picard Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

Michel PicardThis Michel Picard is a lovely full-bodied red. I believe this will be our best value wine (replacing Rosso). But don’t let the “best value” tag fool you. This is excellent! I would proudly serve this to anyone. The wine is grapey with notes of chocolate, spice, smoke and plenty of fruit. It has a round feel on the palate with plenty of body. The tannins are smooth but not lacking. Interestingly, a turpid presentation in the glass with good legs. No doubt about it: I love it! Tomorrow, we need to visit our favorite wine shop (A&L Wine Castle in Ann Arbor) and purchase a case because it is an excellent value and a joy to drink!

Tom: We’re settling on this as our new best-value wine. It’s a dry Old World red wine (i.e., the opposite of an Australian fruit bomb). Tannic, tasty but not super-fruity, slightly tart. (We’ve done a bit of reading and it seems like it’s a French attempt to win back the Yellow Tail crowd.) A great value anywhere under $10.

Black Opal Cabernet Merlot (2004)

Black Opal Cabernet MerlotThis Black Opal is a nice blend of cabernet and merlot. The first thing that comes to my mind when tasting this wine is that it is soft on the palate. The color is a deep purple. There is an aroma of berry and spice. I taste rich cherry, a hint of dark, bitter chocolate and an aftertaste of oak. This is a full bodied wine. The tannins are soft and the fruit is robust. Overall, a lovely quaff that will be an excellent accompaniment to our pasta dinner.

Tom: This is a soft and fruity wine (jammy, berry fruits). The merlot definitely softens the cabernet. It’s unusual for us because it’s neither tannic (like a full cabernet) nor spicy (like a shiraz). It’s pleasant and drinkable, and would be an easy introduction into the fruit bombs (in the good sense) of Australia for anyone.

Hill & Dale Pinotage 2003

Our friend Richard wrote us that that he was impressed with a Hill & Dale Pinotage 2003 from South Africa. His notes are: “Earthy, oaky, and really distinctive.”

Richard spotted that The Boston Globe listed this wine as a best value from around the world at under $10. We haven’t tasted it but we will definitely be on the lookout for it.