Sure to Win: Victor Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon

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On the docket:  Victor Vineyards 2013 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 750mL

Poured into:  stemless aeration glass

S:    Red-violet meniscus that rings around a deep, intense ruby red body.

A:  At the first inhale one gets sweet black cherry jam. There’s some pleasing alcohol present.  Subtle spice.

T:  The black cherry continues, but not as jam-like on the palate.  There is an initial sweetness which gives way to earthy flavors, cocoa, and black pepper.  Oak is balanced, adding a modicum of vanilla.

F:  Smooth, fine-grain tannins and a full-bodied feel.  Supple.  Long finish of cherries and a dried herbal note.

O:  An affordable, pleasant Lodi cab.  Excellent on its own or with a simply prepared cut of beef.

Suggested food pairing:  Osso bucco, venison, berry fruit tart, Havarti

 

French Connection: Sarah’s Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir

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On the docket: 2013 Sarah’s Vineyard Central Coast Pinot Noir
Poured into: Wine & Whiskey Country snifter

S:  Intense ruby, with thick legs and a pinkish-orange tint.

A:  Red berry fruit, a touch of spicy earth.  Higher fusel alcohols reminiscent of cherry liqueur.

T:  Bright berry flavors of strawberry, tart cherry, plus subtle wood and vanilla in mid-palate.  Digestif-style spice quality as it breathes.

F:  Regal, delicate with smooth tannins.  The finish is slightly tart and acidic with a hint of alcoholic warmth.

O:  Dancing on the tongue and roof of your mouth before gliding through to the finish, this Central Coast Pinot has a somewhat French sensibility, but with a bit more weight.

Suggested food pairing:  Lemon-braised pork or chicken, Gouda cheese; fruit salad

Best Kept Secret: Secret Cellars Paso Robles Cabernet 2013

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On the docket: 2013 Secret Cellars Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Poured into: Wine & Whiskey Country snifter

S:  A deep, inky body with a red-pink meniscus.  No legs.

A:  Dark red fruit and hints of cassis.  A touch of alcohol and subtle oak and vanilla.

T:  Initial sweetness and a burst of dark cherry and currant.  A hint of vanilla.  Fruit-forward.

F:  Supple, soft.  Refined, ample tannins that provide structure and a bit of grit, nothing scathing.

O:  Paso Robles cabs deliver excellent fruit and tannin.  This wine is no exception.  Let it sit for a bit and really get a sense of the luxury inside this bottle.

Suggested food pairing:  Black and blue filet with caramelized onions and mushrooms with a bleu-cheese butter sauce.  Want to go off the beaten path?  New York-style cheese cake.