Monday, June 02, 2008

When You Think Mendocino, Do You Think Cabernet?

If not, then maybe you should.

Most US wine lovers think of Napa when they think of domestic Cabernet Sauvignon, but the cool ocean breezes of Mendocino County are helping Sky Saddle--a small winery that cares deeply about the environment--to produce a great wine at a great price. I was expecting something leaner and greener when I uncorked this bottle, but instead I found a well-balanced and fruit-forward wine that will only improve over the next few years.

The 2003 Sky Saddle Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich and complex example of the variety. ($21.99, WineQ) It's a big wine, and it's still a bit young to show at its best. I decanted it for 35 minutes, but it needed at least twice that amount of time or another year of bottle age in my opinion. Despite its youth, it had the lovely dark color of an eggplant. There were aromas of plum, jammy blackberry, and a hint of eucalyptus along with sweetly vanillin oak. These abundant, fruity aromas were all present in the flavors, too, along with a hint of baker's chocolate. This last flavor possibly came from the tiny bit of Petite Verdot in the wine. The wine was smoothly textured, with a glycerin-like quality to the aftertaste. Very good QPR for wine that was just a smidge over $20.

We had the wine with a simple meal of grilled veggies and a fillet mignon. The soft, silky texture of the meat was wonderful with the texture of the wine, and the wine's fruity and minty flavors brought out the full spectrum of flavors in both the veggies and the meat.

If you are looking for a Cabernet Sauvignon to go with your meals this summer, then think about getting one from Mendocino. Even if you haven't liked California Cabs in the past, this may well be one that catches your fancy.


JuiceCowboy said...

Ah, I got this in my WineQ shipment also and just LOVE it! Followed it up with an order of 4 more and added it to "JuiceQ" (my WineQ club :).

noble pig said...

You know, I do think Cabernet in Mendocino. I usually go for a Navarro Cabernet from Mendocino but I would love to give this one a try.

Thanks for the heads up, as I will be in that area in a few weeks.

Dr. Debs said...

I couldn't agree more, Joel. Noble Pig, I like this Sky Saddle more than most Mendocino Cabs I've tried, so give it a shot. And enjoy your time in Mendocino County. I'm just south of the Mendo/Sonoma border now, and the weather is beautiful.