Monday, August 23, 2010

Keeping It Simple with a Cabernet from Down Under

It's back to school time at GWU$20, so life is more than usually hectic as I settle into the new routines and rhythms of the semester. During transitional moments such as these, it's wise to remember to keep it simple and keep it light--otherwise the stress can get to you. So that's my theme for this week's blog posts.

When it comes to wine, keeping it simple doesn't mean settling for a bland or boring example of a particular grape. But it does mean not spending much money, not worrying about whether this is the best "X" you've ever tasted, and not trying to impress your friends and family with something staggeringly complex and deserving of three hours of wine geek conversation. Keeping it simple means getting a good bottle, for a good price, and having a good time while you drink it.

Cabernet Sauvignon may seem like the wrong option if you're needing to keep things simple, but this bottle just may change your mind. The 2008 McWilliam's Cabernet Sauvignon Hanwood Estate is made with grapes from South Eastern Australia. (suggested retail, $11; available for under $10 in many markets) This is a very nice Cabernet Sauvignon for the price--and it actually tastes like Cabernet, rather than just "red wine." It has a characteristic aroma and flavor profile: red currants, blackberries, and white pepper. I detected a hint of something more like green pepper when it was first opened--which I happen to enjoy--but this note mellowed out very quickly. Very good QPR for a bottle that will remind you how good Cabernet can be when the maker doesn't out-think the test question and is content to let the juice shine.

The wine has smooth tannins, making it a good pairing for grilled meats yet it still stands up to something like eggplant that can overwhelm a lesser wine. Try this with this zesty pasta dish with grilled marinated eggplant, if you are looking for a satisfying vegetarian option to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon or similarly tannic grapes.

Full Disclosure: I received this wine as a sample.

1 comment:

TheBasilBee said...

I love your site. I see youll be getting into trefethen wines soon. i had a wine class on them where the owner came and spoke in Philly at Tria Fermentation school. it was awesome! im on day 3 of blogging..check out my blog