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August 28, 2013
From: Horse Heaven Hills, Washington Price: $30 Serve with: Roast beef, leg of lamb The red wines out of Washington state just seem to get better and better. Maybe it's climate change, but this state is increasingly closing the gap with the Napa Valley in cabernet quality. This wine is a riveting, intensely flavored red with penetrating black cherry, game, wild berry and herb flavors. Despite its youth, it's quite drinkable but with the backbone for long aging. My apologies for recommending another pricey red wine, but this one more than earns its price.
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September 30, 2014
From: Lodi, Calif Price: $14 Serve with: Beef short ribs, lamb shanks This full-bodied red wine packs a flavorful punch, even if it isn't the most elegant cabernet in California. It offers a full measure of cassis, black raspberry and blackberry fruit, with hints of chocolate cake and coffee. This is not a wine to serve with rack of lamb or beef filet, but would make a wonderful match with some of the less-exalted cuts of red meat. There's lots of burly charm here at an excellent price.
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By MICHAEL DRESSER | April 23, 2008
From: Napa and Sonoma Valleys, Calif. Price: $23 Serve with: Lamb, better cuts of beef Ghost Pines is one of Gallo's "ghost" labels, but an association with the Modesto, Calif., giant is rapidly becoming more of a positive recommendation than a warning flag. This full-bodied, stylish cabernet from Napa (61 percent) and Sonoma (39 percent) offers pure and intense black cherry and black currant with a distinct Napa style predominating. It's reasonably complex and well-structured and will benefit from age, but can be enjoyed young.
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June 3, 2014
From: North Coast, California Price: $15 Serve with: Steaks on the grill, leg of lamb With Father's Day coming up, what better choice than a bold, well-price cabernet sauvignon made as a tribute to the winemaker's father? Josh Cellars is named for Joseph Carr's dad, who bore that nickname. This full-bodied but smoothly textured wine delivers moderately complex flavors of black currant, black cherry, chocolate and spices. It's fully drinkable now but could age for at least five years.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | March 1, 1995
This brash young cabernet is a bit raw and unpolished, but it's a lot of fun in its bumptious way. It's not very complex and it needs some time in the glass to tone down, but it has a kind of in-your-face swagger that's fun, though hardly classic. (A wine for Deion Sanders fans?) What makes it work is the flavor -- lots of blackcurrant and cedar. Give it two or three years and it could acquire class.
NEWS
By MICHAEL DRESSER | November 30, 2005
This well-made cabernet has a touch of the "dusty" quality that distinguishes wines from the prestigious Rutherford Bench of California's Napa Valley. Combine that with the smooth, intense flavors of blackberry, black currant, anise, chocolate and spices and you've got one heck of a cabernet for the price. It doesn't have the rustic, leathery flavors of many Australian cabernets. Serve with --beef, lamb, hard cheeses
NEWS
By MICHAEL DRESSER | July 26, 2006
The cabernet, grown at a relatively high altitude, is a very well-crafted, elegant red wine with generous flavors of black cherry, plums, chocolate and herbs. It's not a tannic blockbuster, but it has purity and flavor intensity. Drink now or over the next five years. Serve with lamb or beef.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | January 18, 1995
This delicious, medium-bodied cabernet is loaded with sweet black cherry fruit and just the right hint of oak. It's a relatively simple, straightforward wine but thoroughly enjoyable. It delivers cabernet flavor with the softness of merlot. Best of all, it's widely available in both regular and jug sizes. To mass-produce a wine of this quality is a real achievement.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,Sun Wine Critic | January 5, 2000
When you're talking prestige in California wine, you're talking cabernet sauvignon. A winemaker can fashion a celestial chardonnay or a magnificent merlot, but the true vin d'ego is cabernet. It's the wine world's boss grape and the one on which reputations are built or destroyed. Is it any wonder then that California wineries are scrambling to make their mark in the luxury cabernet market? More and more, it seems that every social-climbing winery has to have a $30-plus reserve or single-vineyard cabernet to challenge the state's longtime elite.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser | February 28, 2007
This Washington state red wine is simply a terrific value. It can fairly be described as a "fruit bomb" - with amazingly pure and intense black-cherry and cassis flavors, and hints of blueberry and chocolate. Its silky-smooth texture notwithstanding, there's a core of firm tanning here that should give confidence to anyone who wants to stash away a few bottles for a decade or so. This wine is a tribute to the extraordinary progress being made in Washington state. Serve with rack of lamb, top beef cuts.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 28, 2013
From: Horse Heaven Hills, Washington Price: $30 Serve with: Roast beef, leg of lamb The red wines out of Washington state just seem to get better and better. Maybe it's climate change, but this state is increasingly closing the gap with the Napa Valley in cabernet quality. This wine is a riveting, intensely flavored red with penetrating black cherry, game, wild berry and herb flavors. Despite its youth, it's quite drinkable but with the backbone for long aging. My apologies for recommending another pricey red wine, but this one more than earns its price.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 20, 2013
From: South Mountain Vineyard, Maryland Price: $30 Serve with: Grilled meat, roast poultry, hard cheeses This is not only the greatest Maryland wine I've tasted in 30 years of sampling the home state product, it's the best red wine from the Eastern United States I've ever encountered. That's not just my view: Boordy's cab franc took Best of Show in the recent Eastern Seaboard Wine Association competition involving wineries from 12 states. This wine is as smooth, elegant and complex as a top-flight St. Emilion from France, but it has a character all its own. The black cherry flavors and herbal notes are penetrating and persistent.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | May 25, 2012
It's widely available, it's moderately priced, and it doesn't require a corkscrew. What more do you need in a red wine? It doesn't hurt that this medium-bodied blend of shiraz (75 percent) and cabernet sauvignon (25 percent) shows plenty of earthy character, with vibrant flavors of blackberry and chocolate. It's not the most complex red on the market, but it's thoroughly enjoyable and ready to drink. A wine for the masses, not the critics. From: Australia Price: $13 Serve with: Grilled meats, pasta
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Dresser | April 27, 2012
From: California Price: $14 Serve with: Pasta dishes, grilled meat This lush, ripe blend of zinfandel, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot is all about decadent pleasure. It's one of those smooth red wines that is so fruity it gives the impression of sweetness without being sweet. There's a lot of berry action - black, blue and wild - and hints of chocolate and coffee. There's no point in sitting on it. Drink now.  
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | June 22, 1997
1994 Trumpeter Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipu, Argentina ($9).This Argentine cabernet is a medium- to full-bodied red wine with earthy, meaty flavors and a surprisingly fine structure for its price range. It's a little on the rustic side but delivers plenty of ripe black-cherry flavor. It should age quite well for three to five years, but is fully ready to drink now.@
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