Monday, June 16, 2008

Cabernet Sauvignon That's Made for Summer

Some people like big, oaky, fruity Cabernet Sauvignon. Except under the right conditions (winter, a fire, full moon, grilled steak, nowhere to drive) I'm not one of them. I tend to like my Cabernets a bit more herbal, a bit lighter on their feet, and with an impression of glycerine if I can get it.

Glycerine (or glycerol) is one of those Advanced Wine Tasting Terms that sounds like complete hooey and which scientists have decided is present in such minute quantities that most people can't actually taste it. What it is is a natural bi-product of fermentation that is syrupy and provides a note of sweetness in a wine. I associate it with smoothness and a sense of satiny body that is not plush and furry on the tongue.

Where I find most glycerine is in aged Cabernet Sauvignon, especially those from the Old World. Finding it in a young Cab, from the New World, has become like searching for a needle in a haystack. Under $20? Well, that's even harder.

Enter the 2004 Sapid Dorcich Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast ($18.99, WineQ). This was a smooth and rich cabernet, with 13.9% alc/vol and an old world taste. The wine is made from Central Coast fruit, and is blended from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. Fresh aromas of herbs, green bell pepper, and plums are crisp and inviting. The palate if very plummy, with flavors of berry as well and a nice herbal lift to the flavors in the aftertaste that keeps the wine from seeming even the tiniest bit heavy. The wine had a nice balance between fruit and acidity, and a generous, smooth texture. Yep, my favorite glycerine sensation is in this wine, and it made me happy to find it in a domestic Cabernet Sauvignon for such an affordable price. Very Good QPR.

The best thing about this Cabernet Sauvignon is that you don't have to wait until the winter to drink it. Because it is lighter and fresher than many New World bottlings, you can keep it on hand for summer BBQs and serve it with everything from burgers to pulled pork without worrying it is going to overwhelm the food or leave you with a crashing headache after July heat meets up with high alcohol levels. We had it with some grilled Filet Mignon, a salad, and some baked potatoes. As you would suspect, the plummy and herbal notes of the wine were stunning with the beef and the vegetables--but it was that nice glycerine note that picked up the soft texture of the meat just beautifully.

"Sapid" literally means pleasing. I thought it was an apt name for a charming and delicious domestic red that I would certainly buy again and keep on hand.


Lo said...

Just what we've been looking for -- a nice BBQ red that stands up to beef, but doesn't overwhelm the palate. Thanks for the rec!

noble pig said...

In all my time at UC DAVIS I never heard anyone refer in tasting notes as "plush and furry on the tongue". I think that's my new favorite description.

VinquireThea said...

Great timing! I was just reading about this on WineQ. Sounds like a great BBQ red, and I'm looking forward to it. Yum!

Tyler Balliet said...

This is perfect. It seems like every weekend I get invited to a BBQ or go on a picnic. Whites are a pain to keep cold in the sun.


Dr. Debs said...

Let me know what you think, all you BBQ types. And NoblePig, you have to turn the wine wheel over to see the more exciting flavor options! ;)