Doug Sloan

California Cabernet Sauvignons for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is June 19 – a week from Sunday – this year.  This is a day to honour fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers and anyone else who happens to fill that fatherly role in your life.

Treat your fatherly figure like a king with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon – The King of red wine grapes!

Great Cabernet Sauvignons are grown all over the wine world.  Few regions can reliably offer us the wide range of styles and flavours that California produced year after year. And, of course, there’s something for every budget…

At an exceptionally affordable price Pepperwood Grove Cabernet Sauvignon (506147) $10.90 is surprisingly rich with aromas of blackberry, red currant, dark chocolate and mocha to draw you in. Smooth and subtle flavors of dried sweet cherry, toasted coconut and sweet leather swirl and linger in the long finish.

Fire up the grill and get smokin’ with burgers, ribs, chops or steaks.  All of these rich meats pair well with the firm tannic ‘grip’ – that sensation of your teeth sticking to the inside of your cheeks? – that Cabernet Sauvignon predictably provides.  Add a homemade potato salad for a well-balanced Father’s day feast!

More than half of the grapes for Louis Martini`s Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon (651679) $16.99 come from their vineyards in Sonoma County, with the balance coming from Frei Ranch Vineyard and Stefani Vineyard in the Dry Creek Valley, as well as Barrelli Creek Vineyard in the Alexander Valley. A touch of Petite Sirah lends further dark fruit character and structure to the wine, while a hint of Merlot contributes to a plush mouthfeel.

Savvy wine-sipping dads and grandpas will already know that most Cabernet Sauvignon wines are tweaked into rich complexity by the addition of measured amounts of other dense red wine grapes. California Cabernets are no exception to this practice.

Ruby black in color, Liberty School Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon (651679) $23.15 displays classic aromas of black currant, crushed blackberry and cherry, with undertones of charred sandalwood, black peppercorn, eucalyptus and a dash of cinnamon. On the palate, dark berries, cherry and a hint of toasted oak unfold as the velvety tannins and balancing acidity lead to a long, fruit driven finish.

Purists would insist that the lush style of California’s best Cabernets is influenced immensely by the pioneering wines grown in the Napa Valley. Wines from the Napa put California on the wine world’s radar. Settled by a few families in the 1960’s, the Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980’s, when vines were planted throughout the county.

With intense fruit and well-integrated oak, Sterling Vineyards Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2103 (314575) $27.99 is distinguished by its brooding profile. Aromas of black plums and cherry pie slide though layers of spice cake and caramelized vanilla. Flavours of blueberries and boysenberry lead into black fruit and swirls of rich cocoa with toasty oak and dark chocolaty tannins.

The 2011 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet has an opaque, youthful dark ruby color. The aromas of dark cherry, ripe Santa Rosa plum, and black currant are integrated with the spicy sweetness of oak, cedar, cinnamon, and clove. With the subtle sweet aroma of dried figs, black pepper, dried herbs, and dark chocolate, this wine has an abundance of complex aromas and flavours. Full bodied with bright dark cherry/berry flavors from a cool vintage that persist from the first sip, it shows great texture and mouth feel.

Alexander Valley winemakers are known for producing quality, value-for-money Cabernet Sauvignon. These are often made in elegant, fruit-driven styles with less of an earthy feel than their Napa Valley counterparts.  Some wine lovers consider them the best of California cabernets!

Silver Oak’s 2011 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (251066) $109.99 was carefully and selectively harvested over more than a month at the end of the cool 2011 growing season. It is a blend of composed of 90 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 7 per cent Merlot, 2 per cent Cabernet Franc and 1 per cent Petit Verdot. It was blended in early 2012 and aged for 24 months in 40 per cent new and 60 per cent once-used American oak barrels.  Serious stuff!

Father’s day is Sunday June 19. Whatever you decide, make your Father’s Day celebration special with a California Cabernet Sauvignon!

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com