Occasionally I just want a bit overly extracted, jammy fruit in a wine. I figure that you can only appreciate the wonderful, balanced, graceful wines from France if you have sampled the big, brash juicy ones from America and found the positives in them. Bottom line, my dirty little wine secret is that I am very partial to Californian Cabernet Sauvignon so I chose wines from the USA to use for my 100 Grapes challenge.
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely planted red grapes, growing everywhere from it's homeland in France to places like India and in a variety of soils. The result of a freak crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, this grape is one of the last mainstream grapes to ripen. This can cause some problems in Bordeaux with the grapes needing blended to fill in holes in the flavour profile, but rarely is this a problem in California where single variety wines are more common.
2007 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Big, vanilla and coconut aromas, a lot of bramble and aniseed. The palate is big, lots of extraction, lots of power and less oak than I expected - but still loads! A nice, big porno Californian Cabernet. 89pts
2008 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon
Ripe Cabernet fruit, some lovely green notes and a bit of tobacco, some perfumed elements too. The palate has spice, heat, juicy fruit but restrained by lovely earthy elements. 90pts
2009 Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Delicious red berries and then bramble. There is a delightful cherry and menthol and a bit of spice coming through. Gorgeous dark savoury flavours, a bit of charred meat, a bit of earth, vegetal green peppers and very nice juicy berries. Beautiful balance and simply awesome. 94pts