Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

FTi (Foxall tasting initiative): Drink More Cabernet!

Posted by Richard Foxall, Feb 27, 2012.

So some years back, I drank almost exclusively California wines, and pretty much Cab, Zin, Pinot, and, for whites, a bit of Sauv Blanc.  In my wine knowledge, I was more a hedgehog than I was my namesake animal the fox:  A fox knows many things, but a hedgehog knows one big thing.  In my case, I knew a few wines very well (at least for my overall years of experience). My first really outstanding wine experiences had been classic California Cabs of the 60s, served to me when I was a teen in the mid-70s. I had also drunk Zins until the fashion for hugeness overwhelmed them, and, with discrimination, developed a taste for pinots from a few places.  But cab was probably my "one big thing."

Then WineBuddy#1 convinced me to broaden my range, drink more wines from the Old World.  My wife also got me drinking Brunello, her favorite. A chance encounter with a Rhone in Sonoma one weekend started me down that path--I've got 24 kinds of syrah from N. Rhone and select California vineyards.  A revelatory California Cab Franc got me interested in the Loire, where I could get varietal cab franc.  And a cheap Chenin Blanc from South Africa (MAN, an acronym for the owners, darn good stuff) got me drinking Huet and other CB-based Loires, which led to Sancerre, Muscadet, and on... Now I've got 28 varietals and 26 subregions represented in my current CT holdings--and that's after depleting all my Chilean, South African, Austrian, and Australian bottles.  But it's still pretty heavy into Cab--somehow, while I drank so many other kinds of wine, I kept amassing cabs.  After all, they're not ready to drink right away.  (Unlike the Spaniards that I can't keep around--that 10 yr old Gran Reserva doesn't need to sit around because the winery aged it for me.)  And the economy here led to a lot of discounts on great stuff. 

Lots of them aren't meant to drink right away, but there are others that I just haven't gotten around to that probably don't need to age any further.  I just don't eat the kinds of foods that pair with it perfectly, and with so many other, non-Cab choices for pairing, I don't get to them.  So I think I am going to list some of the less age-worthy bottles and start drinking them with... whatever.

This weekend, for instance, I opened a bottle of Buehler Napa Cab, 2008, and drank it with spaghetti and meatballs.  (See, that's the thing:  We eat a lot of kid friendly food, but not a ton of steak, roast beef, and so on.)  It was fine. Maybe a chianti would have been better (and for a little less money, at that), but I had already depleted all my chianti.  (Okay, dmcker, if you're reading, here's a hint about your favorite topic: My wife really likes sangio-based wine, like Chianti and, esp, Brunello.) I've got some Brunello, but I'm thinking, save that for the Ossu Buco, or maybe a rabbit ragu. So cab it was.

Next night, finished that one, started on a Franciscan Napa Cab while we ate Korean style beef spare ribs.  Probably a CdR or CdP if i was splurging would have paired well with that, but, again, there's all the Cab sitting there. 

So, coming up this week, here are some options:

2000 Ardente Napa Grand Reserve (Same family who owns Mr. Espresso coffee.)

2001, 2002  Bell Wine Cellars Clone 6 (Georges III vineyard) (The '01 might be a keeper, we'll see.)

2004 Cam Hughes Stags Leap Lot 16

2004 Mt. Eden Saratoga Cuvee

2004 Phelan Napa Valley

2004, 2005, 2006 Temescal (Oakville)

2006 Altus (Rutherford; the "second wine" of Merus)

2006 Bell Napa Valley

2006 Cameron Hughes Mount Veeder Lot 84

2006 Chappellet Signature

2007 Robert Craig Affinity.

According to CellarTracker, these have all at least entered their drinking window.  I probably won't eat any more beef for a week or so.  A roast chicken on Friday is a certainty. Probably one night we'll have spinach and fontina chicken sausages, peppers and onions, with rice.  Takeout pizza might give us a bread from cooking and dishes. 

I'll listen to any advice on which cab to drink with one of those meals, or suggest a quick and easy entree to go with one of those bottles. (Or a couple--remember, there's more where those came from!) I'll try to get to two bottles this week and let you know what went well with what. 


Reply by JonDerry, Feb 28, 2012.

Pairings aren't really my thing, but i'd like to support the idea of drinking more Cabs Fox.

What happened to the Syrah GTI though, is that over?

I'll be posting about the Villa Creek Syrah blend, truly fun stuff.

Reply by dmcker, Feb 28, 2012.

You probably don't want to drink that Chappellet Signature. Just set it aside and I'll take it off your hands when next in town. It needs more aging, anyway.  ;-)

And yeah, Jon, the Snooth powers that be have an interesting concept about how to run their GTIs that seems to completely ignore the Forum....

Reply by duncan 906, Feb 28, 2012.

Foxall; Cabernet Sauvignon is a major element of Left Bank Bordeaux wines and I wondered if you had tried any?I had a quick look through My Wines on here and came up with four that are at least half cabernet sauvignon

1/ 'Chateau Capdet Listrac-Medoc

2/ Domaine de Pouy Graves

3/ Chateau la Fon du Berger Haut-Medoc

4/ Chateau Tartuguire Medoc

and there are numerous others and they are not all horrendously expensive classed growths.Many,like these four,offer reasonable value for money

Reply by JonDerry, Feb 28, 2012.

Yeah, I think there are a few interesting Left Bank Bordeaux's in Fox's wheelhouse of $30.00 or under.

2009: Chateau Poujeaux, Les Grand Chenes, and Le Crock are all well worthy of a sample...

Celebrate the 2009 Vintage!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 29, 2012.

Yeah, I've got a few Bords... I actually thought about that in reducing the overall Cab load, and it's a reason to drink some of these now--to make room for the Bords.  But almost all of the Bordeaus is waaaay too young.  I think the oldest things I've got are one 2001, a handful of 2005s, and the rest are '08 or '09.  Supposedly I have some Ch. Haut Bergey that I'm supposed to take delivery of, too. These Cabs are good but maybe not terribly age-worthy, except the Bell and the Chappellet and maybe the Craig.  Might have to put those aside for a while.

First night of the FTi was a cab, but a cab franc from the Sierra Foothills.  From a small, not pricey winery called Secret Ravine.  I actually love this wine--it's CF, but riper tasting, no green pepper at all.  Probably picked pretty ripe, reflected in the 15% alcohol, so it lacks the acidity of a Loire CF, although it's not flabby.  Kind of like what Argentinian Malbec ought to be. 


Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Feb 29, 2012.

@Fox: if you don't want to pair that cabs with some beef i can suggest a nice way to pair it. Cook a wine based risotto. In italy is pretty famous the "risotto al barolo" cooked, of course, with some barolo. Same thing with champagne. You can do the same with one of your cabs, 1 or 2 glass of wine for 3-4 people risotto and the rest is for drinking.  If u need a more detailed recipe i can write it.

Reply by dmcker, Feb 29, 2012.

I find the risotto al barolo also works well with some funghi included, whether porcini or shiitake or.... Definitely a standard in my kitchen's repertoire, and one that goes well with a substantial red.

Reply by Lucha Vino, Mar 1, 2012.

I iike Cab and the FTi!  I have been inspired to drink Washington Cabs over the past week or so.  Now I know why...  The FTi must have some kind of subconcious reach up to the Pacific North West.

Here are a couple of notables from last week:

2007 Fielding Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

2005 Gamache Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Champoux Vineyard

I'm thinking about a Cab Franc challenge in a couple of weeks during the Paris-Nice pro tour race.  The route travels close enough to the Loire Valley to make this a legit match up.  I will let you which Luchadors step into the ring and how the mayem unfolds!


Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 2, 2012.

LV: I'll happily weigh in here, with my Loire v. Sierra F'Hills cab franc matchup.

Meantime, FTi: Drink Cab was on last night, drank the Cam Hughes Mt. Veeder.  Wife called it a little thin, but that was okay, since we would have been drinking CdR with our sausage, peppers and onions under normal circumstances.  Must have been okay, since she had a small refill and I drained the bottle.  I suspect there would be no reason to give it any more time in the bottle, Mt. Veeder fruit notwithstanding.  But it had enough cab typicity and a hint of cedar or eucalyptus. 

Tonight it's roast chicken.  Normally pinot noir night, but I'll try to talk wife out of it. I'm thinking about the Altus, which I've  had a bit of, or the Temescal, which is new to me.  Had good feedback on CT, although there's not a lot of info out there, and it is the name of my neighborhood... how's that for a reason?  And it was 2/3 off retail.

Tomorrow I get to watch one of my bottles of Ramey Larkmead Vineyard 2006 get raffled off (with some other bottles I donated) at the auction held for my kids' school.  Hope someone appreciates Cab like I do!  (And Syrah and Brunello...)

Reply by duncan 906, Mar 3, 2012.


         I  have now drunk and reviewed my bottle of Le Vivier du Paveil Margaux 1990 which is 70% cabernet sauvignon and very nice it was to.





Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 3, 2012.

Okay, I went ahead and drank the Phelan.  (See above.)  Really good stuff, but I'm going to let the last couple bottles sit for a while--couple years or more.  This has plenty of stuffing and I think it's going to improve as the tannins settle down a little. 

Reply by Lucha Vino, Mar 16, 2012.

Here it is Washington Cab Franc takes on the Loire Valley.  Two significantly different styles originating from the same grape

The Lucha Vino Cab Franc skirmish

Reply by duncan 906, Mar 21, 2012.

Just finished another Left Bank claret [60% cabernet sauvignon] a 1998 Chateau Morin Sidaine and very nice it was too

Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 26, 2012.

duncan, you're on a roll with those prime-time-ready Bords.  I've been chipping away at the blends, including some good Cal Bord blends from Blair Family which sadly went out of business because of family tragedies.

Reply by duncan 906, Mar 26, 2012.

Foxall I have been lucky as regards 'prime-time-ready-Bords' because I often use the website  where you sometrimes find interesting quality wines at supermarket prices although a lot of what is on there is very expensive.I do not know if you have a similar site in the US[probably not given the American's puritanical approach to alchol]  You do not have to join the site to browse;just click on buy wine and current auctions.I have another St Estephe from 97 and a Pessac-Leognan from 96 in my cupboard amoung other bottles bought off that site waiting to be drunk in the next couple of months

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