Posts Tagged ‘Cabernet Sauvignon


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 125 – Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon Valley Central Chile 2011

Has it come to this already? Boxed wine? It has. But I didn’t take this route blindly. I’ve been casually looking into it for a year or so. It seems there are some good boxed wines out there, like Wine Cube and Black Box Paso Robles. The wine stores didn’t have either of those, but they did have Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon Valley Central Chile 2011.

Even if this turns out to be an 87-point wine, it will be a good investment. If it’s below 87 points, then I only lost a few bucks and I have something to cook with. So it’s a good gamble.

Double Stage Corkscrew with stages

The best and only corkscrew anyone needs – the server’s corkscrew or the double stage corkscrew. It’s perfect and easy.

Already I miss the adventure of the bottle, though. The whole ritual of peeling off the foil or capsule, inserting the corkscrew into the cork at a slight angle, denting the top of the cork, twisting, pulling up with the first stage, pulling up more with the second stage, slowly stopping before the pop of the cork, the slow pull so as to not spill wine, the clutching of the cork, and the unwinding of the corkscrew. Then the examination of the color on the cork, which doesn’t really mean anything, except cabs tend to leave darker colors, and it’s always fun when it’s really dark and inky and I try to stamp the backside of my hand with it as if I’m about to enter a bar. And then the slow accumulation of corks. There are about 10 years of corks at my sister’s house. There might even be enough for her to build an additional room to her house.

And then there’s the pour. The slight-angled pour and the arc into the side of the glass, and if I’m lucky, I catch a whiff of its nose. In the least, I can see its color and vibrancy.

And I’ll miss the joy of the watching the level of wine decrease in the bottle. But I won’t miss the guilt at the end of the night or the next morning when I realize I drank a whole bottle of wine while I was carrying on with the things I was doing. So boxed wine is guilt-free wine. However,  how will I be able to tell how much wine I’ve had? This could be dangerous.

Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon 2011So here it goes. I’m going to give this wine very deliberate attention.

I pushed in the half-moon of cardboard cutout, pulled back the rectangular cardboard cutout, pulled out the tab, turn it bit so it will pour down, secured the pourer into place, and poured. I did not smell anything. It poured straight like an old man drooling.

But it had color. And the color looks good. It doesn’t look thin and cheap. It’s dark purple and kind of inky and 90% opaque.

The nose has melons and lots of alcohol, but it’s not hot with alcohol, but it is dominant. It smells musky in its deep recesses and a bit moldy like a British cheese.

I just had a taste. It’s not bad. I’ve certainly had worse bottles of cab. However, there’s not much flavor. It tastes like wine, but I’m not really picking up any notes. It’s mellow.

The finish has some flavor.

It’s not that it lacks flavor. It has flavor, but it’s nondescript.

It certainly needs some food. This would be a good wine for a barbeque, especially if something is cooked and marinated in barbeque sauce. The closest thing I have is natural smoked Gouda I picked up at the Whole Foods in New Orleans two days ago.The cheese actually complemented the nose. They had a little spinning dance together, and then embraced. And it did help the wine along. It brought out a hint of plummy cherry, but, very mild.

I think I can honestly give this wine 87 points. I know what other 87s taste like, and this comparable, and perhaps better because it’s half the price.

It’s not hard to drink at all, but I could get bored of it very easily. It does get better with more air time.//


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 124 – McWilliam’s Hanwood Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

McWilliam's Hanwood Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007It’s the first day of December, which means my birthday is nearby and, most importantly, my first semester in the Creative Writing program at the University of Southern Mississippi is coming to a close. And it was a very trying semester indeed. So relief is on the way. . . . Well, some. I still have to layout and edit the next issue of Redactions, a chapbook for the winner of the Palettes & Quills biennial chapbook contest, and do some prep work for ENG102, which I’ll teach next semester. But, you know what? For one fraking month I won’t have to use a fraking alarm clock!

I do have two papers that are due soon, too, but one paper just needs to be proofread and the other 80% complete, so it’s time to pre-celebrate with McWilliam’s Hanwood Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. I hope it’s good.

It’s color is a deep inky black/purple. It’s 100% opaque. The meniscus is underdeveloped.

The nose is filled with cassis, sour cherries, plums, and vanilla.

Already, I’m thinking a steak would go well with this wine. A steak cooked on the grill and that’s slightly charred on the outside but medium rare on the inside.

It essentially tastes dark. It’s just a big dark taste. Nothing is coming through. It’s a black hole of flavor. No. It’s a flavor singularity.

Wine Black Hole Singularity

The finish is dry and sticky. It’s presence remains on the tongue for some time in a chalky manner.

This wine wasn’t worthy enough of a pre-celebration, but I’m glad I got to make the “Black Hole of Flavor” picture.

87 points.//


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 123 – Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2010Some of you readers (I’m so grateful that you stop to read what I share) will notice I have not been posting much. I’m always going, going, going either with my own school work or with teaching, but tonight I’m caught up and I actually think I’m ahead in my work. So I’m finally taking time to do a wine tasting because I need a break of some sort.  So I’m going (there’s that word again) to slow down for the night and take a deep breath of Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. And then I’m going (again with that silly word) to have some macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. (Did I mention I’m a poor college student . . . again . . . for the fourth time in my life. Some people go straight through a college career. I play hopscotch with attending college and being in the working world.)

So here’s to day 123 on the Juiciest Wine tour.

My glass is a foot away, but I can smell some berries. After I bring under my nose, I smell vanilla, currants, cherries, plums, and jamminess.

According to the Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Tasting Notes, this wine is:

  • 87% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 9% Merlot
  • 3% Zinfandel
  • 1% Sangiovese

Now I know where the jamminess is coming from.

I just love the nose.

The color isn’t as opaque as I would expect for a Cabernet Sauvignon, but it will suffice. With a nose like that, most everything will suffice.

Oh, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease taste good.

Most of the taste comes on the finish with some red grapes, spice, and some tartness. I bet the tartness is the “boysenberry pie” the tasting notes mention.

In the mouth, I pick up some cranberries, but the tastes are so subtle.

I like this wine, but it does need some food to bring out the flavors more.

I would never guess this is a Cabernet Sauvignon, though. The body isn’t big enough and it’s too subtle. But as an everyday wine, I’m enjoying it.

I wish the tastes were as wonderful as the nose.

I’d say 87 points.//


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 119 – Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

So I’m in Hattiesburg, MS. Unfortunately, my stuff is not. United guaranteed it would be here by the 7th, but it won’t arrive until the 13th, so I have to drink wine out of this mini mason jar wine glass for nine more days.

Mini Mason Jar Wine Glass


Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon 2008Since I’ve so little to do, I’ll be sampling the Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Red Hills Lake County).

I’ve had Dynamite before a long time ago, and I remember liking it, but my palate was young then. I’m going to try it again. Allons-y.

The color is a very deep, dark purple. It’s 99% opaque. But that might be misleading because the glass is so narrow. The meniscus, however, is a purple pink. Looking at the meniscus I anticipate that this wine has not quite reached its potential drinking age.

I’m not getting much on the nose, but I pick up some dark cherries and pepper and, maybe, some black licorice.

The finish is quick. No. Delayed. It disappears for a while and then it returns with sour black cherries. The taste buds actually recede but then blossom open to receive the next taste – a taste of black cherries and white pepper. I think I even pick up toast. (Oh, I miss my toaster.)

This is a really smooth wine. It’s pleasant. But it needs some cheese to bring out the flavors.

If I were in Brockport, I’d probably pay $10 for this, but in Hattiesburg, I paid around $16 for this. Wine here is much more expensive. I think I might have to cut down on my wine expenditures or readjust how I drink wine. I had a good system down for finding good wines under $15, but I’m going to have to raise that range to like $25 for down here. I even had some good everyday wines for $8 or $9, but down here, I’ll have no such luck.

So with that in mind. Is this wine worth $16? No. $10? Yes. Or maybe it depends on where you live.

It’s really a good wine, but it does need some food encouragement.

I’ll say 89 points.//


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 118 – Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2009There’s nothing special about today except that it’s 95 degrees outside and 88 inside. Luckily, I have one room with air conditioning, which is where I’ll be doing this wine tasting. Double lucky, I just picked up a bottle of Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Mahan’s, which is also air conditioned, so this wine is at a good temperature and has been open for about one-and-half hours.

Well, it’s not very dark for a Cabernet Sauvignon. The meniscus looks like one of those purple-to-light-purple-wavy sunsets.

Purple sunset

Kinda like that, but less dramatic and with more dark red. Did I just confuse you? Sorry.

Anyway, the wine. It smells like a pie. A spicy, plum pie with blackberries. And maybe some vanilla ice cream on top. This nose is enjoyable also because it’s deep and dark and it makes me think I’m sitting at a stool at the counter of some tucked away diner. And at the end of the counter is vase filled with freshly picked flowers.

It luscious on the tongue. It’s like the after effects of thunderstorm and rain shower after days of a high heat. My body is at ease like the weather would be. It’s filled with relief from plums, slightly jammy plums. It’s eloquent. Not big or in your face. It’s a light dance in the mouth. Oh, all these metaphors and similes. This tasting sounds so insincere, but it’s a good wine for $17.

On the finish is a slight sourness.

All around, it’s an enjoyable wine.

I love this wine. I’m crazy for it. Objectively, it’s like a 90 point wine. But for me it’s like a 95-point wine.//


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 111 – Baron Philippe De Rothschild Escudo Rojo 2008 Maipo, Chile

Quick, Said the BirdToday I started reading Richard Swigg’s Quick, Said the Bird: Williams, Eliot, Moore, and the Spoken Word (University of Iowa Press, 2012). The book is about the sounds in the poems of William Carlos Williams, T. S. Eliot, and Marianne Moore, and so far it’s not about spoken-word poetry. So far it’s damn terrific. I mean, “Wow, someone devoted a whole book to discussing the sounds in poems!” You’d think there’d be more since poetry is sound. It’s meanings mostly arise from its melodies, harmonies, rhythms, intonations, and breathings, yet few write about this things other than an essays. So here’s a whole book, and I happy for it.

Baron Philippe De Rothschild Escudo Rojo 2008Tonight’s wine is Baron Philippe De Rothschild Escudo Rojo 2008 Maipo, Chile, and when I uncorked it, it gave a tremendous pop, which is very fitting considering the book I’m reading. And as I poured it into the decanter, I got a very wonderful smell of juicy fruits and berries.

For now, I’m going to let it decant a bit longer while I add some more thoughts to my review of Quick, Said the Bird, which should appear here in a day or so.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

While you wait, here’s a little story about this bottle. I picked up in Hannaford Farms in Rutland, VT, about two-an-a-half months ago on our way to Dixfield, ME, to visit my girlfirend’s father and step-mother for Christmas. I’ve been saving it ever since. Well, I’ve been wanting to drink it, but I had to save it for an occassion when I could write about it since I don’t know where else to get it. Mahan’s doesn’t have it 😦 Boo.

Anyway. From the back of the bottle:

[. . .] the Rothschild name comes from the German phrase “Das Rote Schild,” a reference to the red shield which originally served as the Family sign. “Escudo Rojo” is the literal Spanish translation.

“The Red Shield” of wine. Hmm. Well, I’ve been shielding you enough from a description. So in the words of the French, allons-y le bouclier rouge.

The back of the bottle also says this wine is blend of “four traditional grape varieties,” though it doesn’t say which ones, and I can’t find any sources on the internet. Based just on the waft I got from pouring I’m going to guess one of them is a Cabernet Sauvignon, and I’m positive about that, and I’m going to guess Syrah and Merlot.

Now, that I’ve smelled it with integrity, I’m sticking with my guess. I’m also adding that I love this nose with cherries, peppers, and a hints of cantaloupe and earthiness. It smells juicy. It smells like there’s a Washington Merlot in there, which may be why I’m getting juicy green apples. Oh, and vanilla. And some cola. My gosh, I’m drooling over the possibilities.

The color is dark, royal purple that is 85% opaque.

The finish is tart as you might get from a green apple. Why do I always pick up the finish first?

It’s also a bit bitter on the finish.

The nose is way better than the taste. The nose is all hope and warm fuzzies of goodness. The taste is kind of ordinary, or maybe my expectations were set to high from the nose.

You know what. I’m changing my Merlot from above to Carmenere. That’s what is hurting this wine. To me Carmenere smells like Merlot, but it doesn’t taste like. It’s like Merlot is The Beatles and the Carmenere is the Dollar Store version of The Beatles, or The Monkees. (I thank Harvey for that Beatles-Monkees analogy.) Carmenere’s DNA is very similar to Merlot, too. Actually, the more I sip it, the more I pick up some luscious cherries and pepper. It’s getting better with each sip. The bitterness and tartness are fading. It’s juicy and dry at the same time. It’s juicy on the palate and dry on the gums. It’s lip smacking. There’s some smoke, too.

Anyway, I’m liking this more and more. I think it will go good with a spinach salad that has crumbled bacon. It should also complement smoked gouda cheese.

I’ll say 88 points, or a B+.

I don’t remember what I paid for it, but I wouldn’t pay more than $12 or $13.

Oh so I did some more research. This wine is:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon 40%
  • Carmenere 37%
  • Syrah 18%
  • Cabernet Franc 5%

Okay. I taste that Cabernet Franc, now, but it’s good. I usually despise the Cabernet Franc, but it’s hiding itself inside the Carmenere. It’s wearing Carmenere camouflage.

To read the tasting notes I found, which also includes the blending notes, click Baron Philippe De Rothschild Escudo Rojo 2008 Tasting Notes. It even has a map so you can locate Maipo Valley, Chile.

Their tasting notes say it’s “round, fruity.” I say it’s “cubical and dark berry.”//


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 109 – Chateau de Ribebon Bordeaux Supérieur 2009

Chateau de Ribebon Bordeaux Supérieur 2009Tonight’s wine is Chateau de Ribebon Bordeaux Supérieur 2009, which is $14 at Mahan’s Liquor in Brockport. This is an affordable Bordeaux, which is like an oxymoron, but it’s “Supérieur,” which means it has attitude. Therefore, I assume this wine is going to try really hard to prove its worth to me. You know, it’s going to try and impress me with some sleight of hand tricks. Or maybe its just confident and knows what its all about. Its like, “I’m know I’m good, damn it!” and then it snaps its fingers. I hoping for the latter . . . I think. Either way, there’s going to be attitude.

This Bordeaux is 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10 % Cabernet Franc. Usually, I think, Bordeauxs are more Cabernet Sauvignon than anything else. So odd.

The color of the wine is deep claret. Well, that’s what the back of the bottle says. I don’t think I’ll disagree.

Here’s what the whole back of the bottle says:

Variety :

60 % Merlot, 30 % Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10 % Cabernet Franc.

Color :

Deep Claret

Nose :

A gently perfumed nose of blackberry, cherry, and cassis fruit and chocolate layers with some spices and cedary notes.

Palate :

This stylish wine shows elegance and concentration with brooding fruits, delicate tannins, and cedary, integrated oak.

Complex and inviting, the structure is fine, the fruit intense, and the finish persistently long.

Assessment :

Great wines produce by Alain AUBERT (6th generation of Aubert producing wine in the region) and his daughters.

They are also producers of the famous Château La Couspaude and Château Haut-Gravet in St. Emilion.

(“St. Emilion” means they are from east Bordeaux, or the right bank.)

When I poured this into the decanter, I picked up lots of berries on the nose. The odors just wafted up. I picked up a bouquet of flowers, too. I have a feeling it has decanted enough. French wines tend to need time to breathe to open up, but we’ll see.

(I’m did my tasting notes before I read the back label, except for the color part and the blend infromation.)

So the nose. The nose has dark berries and a deep, dark forest. I also get dark chocolate. A salty, dark chocolate.

The taste is mild, but this may be because I’ve been drinking Cabernet Sauvignon almost exclusively for the past week or so. Actually, there’s not much happening on the palate. This maybe why I lean to new world wines instead. They are bigger and more pronounced. This old world wines are more subtle. So subtle they don’t even pronounce the “b” in subtle.

The more I swirl it, though, the more it opens. I’m getting dark cherries and dry raspberries and dry blueberries. Oh, and earthy, too.

The finish is chalky, which may mean it needs a little more time to open up.

I’m barely picking up the chocolate that is mentioned on the back-label tasting notes.

This wine is ok. It stands up. It’s not great, and it’s not bad. It’s ok, and it has no attitude.

It does get juicier the longer it’s open. The cherries come out more, and the dry raspberries and blueberries are no longer dry but are juicy.

I’ll say 88 points.//

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

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The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

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