Friday, November 2, 2007

Reader Request Tasting: The Show Cabernet Sauvignon

A Recent Request Tasting is when one of my readers or friends asks me if I have ever had a wine, that they had and loved, before. When I hear the request, it reminds me of the reasons I love wine and the whole wine world for various reasons. First, there are just so many wines out there to try and although I am more red-centric, there are some amazing whites as well. I just seem to gravitate to the larger flavored Reds. Gosh, as an avowed Capitalist in my earlier years, it seems difficult to align myself with the Red crowd! The second reason I love to hear about wines is that it reminds me NOT to be a snob about wine, that I should listen to the proletariat (damn, there I go again!) and hear what other people like to drink. I always ask what they like about a certain wine, and they usually just say that they love the flavor. So to become more in tune to various people's flavor preferences, I want to try the wines that they like. Third, when I hear that someone LOVES a certain wine, I like to be able to expand their experience with wine by introducing them to similarly priced wines of the same varietal or region of production and have them compare. Some of my favorite wine memories relate around going to dinner with friends and bringing wines for them to experience an enjoy. Wine tasting can be such a communal experience, where you share your insights of your five senses being triggered by a small glass of opaque fluid. It is truly an experience best shared with others, even though I have been guilty of flying solo from time to time.

So Friends, click on the GUEST BOOK at the bottom of the page, introduce yourself and tell me about a wine you love and want to have us taste and share. Last week I challenged you to go outside the box and pick a wine you did not have before, and one you normally wouldn't buy. I got two responses: Don G. of St. Simons Island, Ga. wrote: "You put down the gauntlet, and here is my response to your challenge: I opened a bottle of "The Novelist", a Meritage of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion. A refreshing wine with fruity nose and smooth finish. A good buy for about $20" and Rita A. of St. Simons Island, Ga.(do these people know each other?!?!?) wrote: "Last night after dinner at Bennie's Red Barn, our favorite local steakhouse on St. Simons Island, we cracked a bottle of 2005 Estate Bottled Brucatao Zinfandel Port. Black Cherry,currant, chocolate and spice make this a fantastic dessert wine. Try it!"

Before I get to my review of The Show Cabernet, please remember to forward this blog to all of your friends and family who love wine or just want to know more about wine. The more people who read this blog and send in suggestions, the more wine I wait, I mean the more knowledge and information YOU receive. Thanks!

REVIEW TIME..........

So I'm at this party the other night, and my friend's dad Steve and I are having an animated chat about the world and all of our places within it. We finally stopped talking nonsense and started talking WINE. Steve is the Yellowtail drinker from my last post. He told me he went to a friend's house and had a glass of an amazing wine called The Show. He said its a California Cabernet Sauvignon and he went right out to buy a few bottles of it to have for himself, because he was told it was priced around $13 and it was immensely better than the $8 Yellow appendage that he was accustomed to buying. He bought the last three bottles in the store and there hasn't been any more there since. My first reaction is that the store owner is doing a poor job of inventory control, and the second was: Let's go taste that wine!

So Wendy and I are at dinner the other night, and see The Show behind the bar as the "wine by the glass" wine. Not bad wine by the glass, but then again, this was a classy place! I asked the bartender to bring me the bottle so I can read about the wine before I drink it. He hands it over and right away I notice that the bottle has names above the title of the wine, and one of them is GOTT.

Instinctively, I think of Joel Gott who is a Jack-Of-All-Trades, Master-Of-All-Trades in the Napa area. Joel has a few labels of wine that he produces. He also is the owner-chef of Taylors Automatic Refresher restaurant in Napa on Hwy. 29 in St. Helena and San Fransisco. Taylors Refresher is a legendary landmark and has received the 2006 James Beard Award in the America's Classics Restaurant category. Additionally, the restaurant has received tons of publicity including a spot on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives program on The Food Network. When visiting Napa, don't miss the place, they specialize in Burgers and Shakes, but this ain't your backyard bbq grill burger. Check the menu section on their website above and be amazed at the artistry one can concoct between two pieces of bread!

Back to the SHOW: The Show 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted by three winemakers who don't take themselves too seriously, which is a benefit to most average wine drinkers. Their wine company is Rebel Wine Co., which is a 50/50 partnership with Trinchero Family Winery. The goal of Rebel Wine is to peel back the notion that all good wine is expensive, and that wine for the masses can be flavorful, complex and be crafted to appeal to drinkers of all budgets. They call themselves The Three Thieves, and have an interesting little website: Three Thieves is also a label of wine that they produce that is bringing JUG WINE back....hey, if Justin is bringin' Sexy back, then these guys are entitled to whatever they want to do....just don't produce wine that comes in its own burlap sack....that's hopefully died and gone to heaven.

The Three Thieves have produced some other wines individually, and you can check them out on your own. Here's the product details on The Show:

The Show 2005 Cab is 80% Cabernet from Monterrey, Paso Robles and Napa, plus 8% Merlot from Monterrey, 6% Cab Franc from Napa, 3% Petite Sirah from Dry Creek and 3% Petite Verdot from Napa. The 10,000 cases produced saw French and American oak prior to bottling.
Alcohol content: 13.9%.

Here's my impression: In the glass, the wine is deep garnet coloring, almost blackish, but not quite that dark. It had a really interesting nose. I sat there sniffing it for about 5 minutes trying to wrap my nose around the interesting smells that were coming from the wine. There was terrior which I love on the nose of a wine, plus some black cherry and plum and some menthol. It was intoxicating. Then, came disappointment. That nose set me up for a big flavorful wine with layers and layers of fruit which never came. I found the wine to be little fake in the flavor, almost more like a candy than a beverage. And then I got OAKED. Smacked in the head with a big oaky mouth after swallowing the wine. I tried it a few more times, with more swirling and sniffing and still the same let down. I think if I didn't spend so much time smelling the nose of the wine, I might have liked it a bit better, but the wine did not live up to its SEXY nose. Sadly, I finished the glass and asked for a glass of 2004 Napa Cellars Cabernet which I have had and LOVED. This is a $19 bottle of wine which is significantly better than The Show, but only a few dollars more. Wendy LOVED The Show Cabernet when we were tasting it, and was calling me a wine-snob (is there actually a worse insult!?!?) until she tasted the Napa Cellars and went, "WOW, that is really excellent!"

So for me, The Show wasn't "lights out." It didn't live up to the expectations. I want you to know that I think this wine was good, and on the 100-point scale, I'd give it an 88. I think maybe more time in the bottle will settle the oak down and let the fruit develop and improve. I don't think this wine is a long-term cellar project. Just a year or more might help it. One thing's for sure...... It is A LONG WAY BETTER than Yellow Tail, and Steve: Thanks for the Suggestion!


Anonymous said...

Had a bottle of 1987 Silver Oak last night. If it's available anywhere, buy it and drink it NOW. After 20 years, the wine is mellow with a beautiful robe and a smooth finish. Heaven knows how much it would be.

Paul J. Abrams said...

The cost would be between $118 and $185, depending on whether it was just Silver Oak Napa Valley or Silver Oak Alexander Valley. Sounds like you liked that $100+ bottle of wine!