The Problem With Cabernet Sauvignon
If you were to gauge our wine tastes by our wine rack, you might think we have an inordinate fondness for Cabernet Sauvignon. When I went downstairs to get a bottle last night, a cursory glance took in a Ceja Cab, a Mondavi, a Silverado, and a Judd’s Hill. And I can only get wines onto the top half of our big wine rack. And one of the shelves is half full of class wines. There were no Rieslings. There were no Sauvignon Blancs. There were no Southern Rhônes. There were no Piemontese wines. And yet these wines are among my favorites.
Why don’t I have any on my rack? Because we drink them all. (We do have a bunch in off-site storage.) But Cabernets sit for a few years before they get pulled out. My abundance of Cabernet doesn’t come from liking it: It comes from never drinking it.
The tannin-heavy, weighty grape has its place, but that place is next to heavy meats, and I just don’t have the budget for steak or rack of lamb every night. Even if I did, I like more variety in my food. To my mind, Cabernet Sauvignon does not.
On the other hand, this means that my Cabs end up sitting on the rack for a while, accruing a few of the years they need to mellow out and develop. Last night, when I made steak for dinner, we drank a 2003 Judd’s Hill Napa Cab, and its fine-grained tannins had settled down to allow the fruit — red raspberry jam and strawberries — to gush out. And there were the first hints of older Cabernet in our glasses: a thin rim of red that was more orange than purple, a whiff of tobacco and earth.
It will probably be a while before I drink another Cab, and so they will continue to pile up. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing, after all.
Labels: Wine Wine Wine