Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This Week's 3-Pack: Don't Fear the Blend!

Feeling lazy - and had to deal with a broken kitchen pipe this morning, so I'm entitled to a little laziness - so this entry is pretty much ripped directly from my weekly newsletter....

I've noticed that a lot of people seem to shy away from blends – those pesky wines that list a number of grapes on their label. Maybe they seem extra confusing, or maybe there’s a concern that all those grapes are tying to hide something. It doesn’t help that wines from Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley, some of the world’s best wines, don’t list the grape varieties on their labels. If they did - we would all know they’re blends!!!

So to try to ease the fear of the dreaded blend, I put together a weekly three pack featuing the Cabernet Sauvignon grape in 3 different incarnations – on its own, blended with Shiraz, and all mixed up in a Southern France ménage a quad (or whatever the proper term would be for wine-made-from-4-different-grapes.)

And the wines are....

Morro Bay Cabernet 2005 (California)
Classic Cabernet character at a really good price - dark cherries, blackberries, with a minty/herbal touch. Some toasty oak which is typical of Cabernet – even through it comes from the barrels the wine is aged in, not the grape itself. Very food-friendly, which isn’t always true of this grape. And liquid proof that Cabernet can stand on its own (and doesn’t have to cost a fortune.)

Pecan Stream Cabernet/Shiraz 2004 (Stellenbosch, South Africa)
In this little gem, Shiraz plays nice with Cabernet, mellowing it out and adding a bit of red berry and spicy flavours. The wine has a touch of the gamey/meaty character that seems to be typical of South African wines and adds some character.

Domaine du Poujol Proteus 2005 (Vin de Pays de l’Herault, France)
A blend of Merlot, Carignan, Cinsault, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Don’t let those strange grapes from the South of France scare you - this is a fresh, attractive red with juicy red berry fruits, a touch of spice, and a nice, soft finish. You probably won’t be able to spot the Cabernet, but it adds a bit of structure which makes this wine more than just a berry stew. Imported by Kermit Lynch.

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