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Spirits 101 – The Big, the Bold, the Delicious

Spirits 101

The Big, the Bold, the Delicious

“My only regret in life is that I did not drink more wine.” – Ernest Hemingway

After the year we’re having, I think some strong red wine is in store.  It doesn’t matter what the occasion is when drinking wine; all that matters is that you are pouring some great juice that you can enjoy either with or without the company of others!  I’ve focused mostly on white wines and pairings for holiday meals in the past, this go around, I would like to jump into the world of America’s bestselling grape: Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cab is wonderful, because it has the strength to engulf your palette, but also the delicateness to portray the complexities of the viticulture of the grape.  Cabernet Sauvignon means “wild Cabernet” as the grape was found growing naturally in the southwestern region of France and is the child of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc.  Cab itself has a complex body with warm red and purple fruits like black cherries and black currants, but also portrays flavors of wood and baking spices at the same time.

When searching for a Cab that suits your flavor profile, it’s important to look at where the wine is from and how the wine is made:

If you prefer a fruit forward powerhouse, then there’s a good chance you will love Northern and Southern California Cabernet Sauvignons.  It is nearly impossible to think of Cab from California and not immediately picture Napa Valley.  Some of the best Cabs grow in Napa due to the warm summer months and the nearby mountains ability to capture the moisture in the air, while also protecting from harsh weather.   My personal favorite Cab is produced in the Coombsville AVA of the Napa Valley by Palmaz Vineyards.

If earthy notes with less strength from fruit is more your speed, then going old world to the Bordeaux region of France is a great choice.  Bordeauxs are primarliy blends of five main grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. To find the blends with the most Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, you want to look for wines made from the ‘Left Bank’ of the Garonne River in the sub-regions Médoc and Graves.  Their terroir is known for their gravelly soil adding to the Old World style that is apparent in French wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a staple in the wine world and for good reason.  They are fantastic stand-alone wines, but they also pair extremely well with strong red meats like steak and prime rib.  I feel that the best time to open a bottle of wine is with friends and family, but ultimately, as long as you are enjoying the glass, then open away!