Cabernet Even in July!

A few good wine to celebrate the summer with.

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The highest scoring wine is not always the best. Listen in as GDP describes four winning wines and why they're among his favorites, high scores or not!

Oaky and dark on the nose with some licorice tones backing up the herb framed toasty nose which shows burnt orange rind and wild cherry fruit all topped with a bit of fresh mint. Just a touch chunky on entry, this needs some time to fully integrate but the acid and slightly angular tannins really fill out the mouth nicely. The fruit has a light raspberry preserve edge to it but remains clear on the palate and fairly zesty with integrated herbal spice notes adding detail and some walnutty oak leading to a moderately long oak tannin and wild red berry fruit finish. Smooth, polished and well balanced. 89pts
Tight on the nose with a touch of creamy cafe au lait under the core of gentle red fruit with some mint and nutty top notes.  This is lush and slightly sweet on entry with nice acidity lending freshness and excellent clarity to the palate.The fruit leans towards the black raspberry range of the spectrum and this shows impressive ifs subtle complexity with subtle, toast, herbal and almost tomato fruit character that extends across the fairly long finish. This feels great in the mouth and really has a lovely flavor profile. 88pts
Nutty and toasty on the nose, this shows fine mineral, tomato leaf and fine red fruits. A touch sweet on entry, this is pretty powerful and opulent in the mouth though the fruit, tart red berried and slightly herbal. has a lovely fresh feel. The oak here is obvious if not intrusive with dusty tannins lingering on the back end and through the long, tart, oak driven finish. Still this is yummy even if it needs a year or more to fully integrate the oak. 88pts
This offers up a lovely blend of black fruit, dried herb and fairly assertive smoky oak on the nose, with the herbal note remaining quite dominant. Smooth, polished and easy drinking, the oak is quite well integrates on the plummy, black currant driven palate that shows excellent clarity of flavor, though it does come off as a touch candied in the mouth before yielding to  well structured though fairly dry, long finish. 87pts
Oddly floral and slightly tarry on the nose, this shows noticeably French oak under that floral and spicy fruit. A little sweet on entry, this is smooth, rich and polished with an initial rush of sweet toasty oak followed by jammy strawberry and blackberry fruit that in turn yields to dark, tarry, oily spice notes on the backend and through the long, spicy and slightly hot finish. A rather imposing wine with well managed oak though I do wish this showed more depth and brightness to the fruit. Nonetheless, once you get past the nose and a little lactic quality on the palate, this is pretty suave and certainly holds broad appeal. 87pts
2010 Lapostolle Casa Cabernet Sauvignon Rapel Valley Chile 12.8% $13
Nice herbal notes greet the nose along with a hint of smoky, some fresh tomato and hints of red currant fruit. A bit light but very fresh on entry, this shows a little wood toast early in the mouth with some small yet hard tannins before revealing a modest core of earth tinged plum skin and black currant fruit. The finish is light and fresh with some gentle tannins adding a bit of length. Balanced, dry and in its style quite easy to drink, this is a lovely, simple Cabernet. 86pts
Smoky with a bit of pickle barrel on the nose and lots of dried herbs with just a base note of red fruit. Pretty fruity on entry and with just a hint of RS adding emphasis to the sprightly red berry fruit. The tannins here are a touch hard just the fruit works well on the modest finish which shows nice refreshing acids and some strawberry tones that linger on the palate. This is round, juicy and a little rustic but kind of fun to drink. 86pts
A fair amount of toasty oak greets the nose along with lots of dried herb character and black currant fruit. This is smooth and fairly opulent in the mouth with a nice base of rather well managed tannins and good acidity that supports lots of plummy and black currant fruit. This turns a bit extracted and bitter on the long finish. This has a certain blend of polish and extraction that will appeal to many but come off clumsily to me. 86pts
A bit reticent on the nose with some pencil shavings and lots of tart red fruit. A bit soft in the mouth and broad. lacking a bit of acidic brightness though this does deliver lots of black cherry and black currant fruit with a nice toasty oak base note and some peppery spice on the backend. The finish is almost non-existent with dry powdery tannins being the main feature. This is easy drinking and easy to understand but a bit ordinary. 83pts
Lots of herb and cedar greets the nose with a sweet, toasty campfire tone tone to the wood that includes a bit of marshmallow. Sweet and almost soft, this has enough acid to lend a tart character to the modest mid-palate which shows lots of simple sweet red cherry fruit, a bit of overt oak, and some herbal character, all of which disappears quickly on the brief finish. 78pts
Smoke, and twigs, and other subtle notes of decomp all come together here in a harsh and artificial way with a vanilla top coat. Moderately better in the mouth, this is a bit viscous, sweet and toasty with lots of weird artificial grapy fruit and an undercurrent of bitterness that vies with sweetness for your attention on the too long finish. 75pts

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Top Cabernet tasted July 2013

Murphy-Goode Dealer's Choice (2010)
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Barra of Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon Mendocino County (2009)
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Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon the Expedition (2011)
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Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County (2010)
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Angulo Innocenti Cabernet Sauvignon la Consulta (2011)
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Chateau St Jean Cabernet Sauvignon (2010)
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  • I am unaware of any time of year or any weather condition where a good cabernet is not something I want to drink.

    In fact, it's nearly 100 degrees and humid here in Arlington County, Virginia, and I do believe I shall.

    Jul 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 5,474

    I think Woody has the right idea.

    Greg, thanks for the comments on wines that are affordable and, I'm guessing, available. I'm going to mention one that I had two days ago--Robert Mondavi Napa Valley. Mondavi is, of course, a high volume producer and, as such, does not get a lot of love just because they are big. However, big does mean that you can actually find the wine in retail outlets. I bought this one (2009) a few weeks ago at Costco for $19. It is terrific--good body and structure withoug a giant explosion of tannin in your mouth, not overwhelming berry/cassis fltvors and a good wine with a casual meal (we had grilled burgers).

    Looking at a Beringer Knight's Valley (again, $19 at Costco) to go with our Hollywood Bowl picnic, tonight. There will be three of four other choices for others in our group or for different courses of the picnic.

    Jul 18, 2013 at 4:27 PM

  • Snooth User: bopahyland
    222403 17

    You're still overlooking WA and OR as producing great Cabs. Especially, Columbia-Crest Grand Estates Cabernet. We're currently drinking 2009 but can't imagine that any other vintage would be any less than 2009. This winery consistently produces a rich, full-bodied and affordable cab and don't miss their Merlot, as well.

    Jul 18, 2013 at 5:46 PM

  • Snooth User: dryhopped2
    544495 25

    For my money, it is the BV Rutherford Cab. It is readily available for less than $20 in So Cal and displays a complex, nicely blended palate of fruit, wood, and leather. I consider it the best consistent value year after year.

    Jul 18, 2013 at 6:49 PM

  • Snooth User: winenana
    685466 29

    Why is 60-65 considered "chilled?" That is standard wine cellar temperature, and when my wine warms up more than a couple of degrees over that, I don't like it. Also, in summer I often put one ice cube in my red wine. Don't be horror-struck! You'd be surprised at how many do this. One little tablespoon of water doesn't hurt your wine, and makes it more pleasant to drink. I've seen men toss in two or three at a time on a hot day. And...WA state has some excellent Cabs at good prices. Grand Estates is one. Cashmere Cellars @ $17. Ryan Patrick Rock Island Red at Safeway, under 16. Their 08 Cab is 18 at some stores. Very good.

    Jul 18, 2013 at 7:08 PM

  • St. Supery 09 Napa Valley Cab at Safeway in Northern CA normally $34 is usually on sale for 19.00 + tax.

    And I agree with "winenana" my cellar is set at 57 or I take my cab selection if during the day and pop it in the refrigerator for half an hour before opening and it cools it down nicely and we chill our glasses. Keeps it at a nice temperature for a longer period, and some times we place the decanter in the fridge after the first pour. Try it it can't hurt the wine.

    Jul 19, 2013 at 3:52 PM

  • Snooth User: winenana
    685466 29

    Exactly, MarkMag. We'd drink Cab at your place anytime..especially the St. Supery. xlnt wines. The ex CEO is a friend of ours and we used to drink a lot of all their wines. Love the Virtu, too, and Cab Franc, just name it!

    Jul 19, 2013 at 9:24 PM

  • Snooth User: swimdad
    474451 31

    EMark...The Mondavi Private Selection (?) and the Knight's Valley are our go-to cabernets. Tasty and affordable. We have other faves that we save for special occasions,

    Aug 06, 2013 at 10:54 AM

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