Monday, April 18, 2011

Fire Up the Grills--and Buy Cabernet Sauvignon

It was 90 degrees in Los Angeles. I know it's snowing in Buffalo, but here it is spring (or maybe even summer). So last night I fired up the grill for the first time, marinaded a skirt steak, threw some sweet potatoes in the oven (note to self: roasting potatoes in oven for an hour heats up the house), and tossed some cherry tomatoes with mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Then I hit the Cabernets.

I love grilled steak with Cabernet Sauvignon, and I have three recommendations for you: one under $10, one under $15, and the other just a hair over $20. Even if you are experiencing snow, these wines would also be good with stews, braised short ribs, or a pot of chili.

Under $10: 2009 Big House Wine Company The Usual Suspect Cabernet Sauvignon (suggested retail $9.99; available for $6-$10). Not the most complex Cabernet, perhaps, but a solid example of the grape with characteristic plum and currant aromas. The palate was dominated with plum notes and accented by a bitter taste reminiscent of coffee grounds. The aftertaste was nicely bitter, too, which kept this fruit-forward wine from becoming too jammy. A touch of Grenache is blended into the Cabernet. Good QPR.

Under $15: 2009 Robert Oatley Cabernet Sauvignon James Oatley TIC TOK (suggested retail $14; available for $12-$16) This is another fruit-forward Cabernet, with currant and blackberry aromas and flowers. A spicy aftertaste is accompanied by nice tannins that have just enough grip. Very good QPR.

Just Over $20: 2008 Viña Robles Cabernet Sauvignon Huerhuero Vineyard (suggested retail $22; this new release currently available at the vineyard; previous releases available elsewhere for $15-$25) This was a wonderful wine, and tasted like something considerably more expensive than the sticker price. Aromas and flavors of currant, pencil lead, and eucalyptus made for an elegant and complex wine. With air, the currant notes turn plummy. The aftertaste is smooth, with spicy, well-integrated tannins. This is a lot of wine for $22, and excellent QPR.

Full Disclosure: I received samples of these wines for possible review.

6 comments:

James said...

Ahh grilled meat. I did this last Saturday, though I opened up a bottle of Laird Family Estate Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa California. I love the hints of cherry and dried currant. got this wine online, and it arrived in perfect condition.

Ziggy said...

I never really had good luck with wine there have only been a few that I truly enjoyed but I think that I may try some of the ones you suggested. What may be interesting is a blog of your top 10 wines or at lest a list of the best wines that you came across.

ninasays said...

Hey Deb, I don't mean to get on your nerves about this topic, but I wrote you an email (about the wine scrapbook) and since I'm really pressed for time I'm anxiously waiting for an answer :)
P.S. Really cool blog! I work at a wine store and write my thesis about scrapbooking, you gotta love conincidence :)

The Mighty Quinn said...

Cool blog! As a college male, my knowledge of wine is extremely limited. I usually drink good beer. These looks like some suggestions that might be great for this summer. I love grilling.

Eric said...

The Usual Suspect Cab sounds good. I'm going to try it this weekend at our cookout with a Cajun Rib-eye. Thanks for the review!

lisa.s.kim said...

I can't believe I just found this website now... hope you keep writing so I can follow :)