Artisan Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

What do you do when the weather turns fierce, and you’re stuck indoors for two-and-a-half days?

A couple of weeks ago, my area was blessed with 30 inches of snow.  Not an event that occurs frequently in my town, it brought things to a screeching halt.  Everything, I mean everything shut down.  I’ll give the meteorologists their kudos, we were forewarned.  So I put together a plan to wile away the hours by watching movies on my bucket list and enjoying some wine along with them.  I’m happy to say that is precisely what I did!  I ended up watching 5 movies and binge-watching a couple of TV shows to boot.  As for the wines, I started with a California Cabernet from Artisan Winery on the evening the storm arrived.

Winemaker:  Artisan
Wine:  Vintner’s Guild Cabernet Sauvignon
Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  California
Price:  $12.99

Notes:  This was a dark Cab with scents of earth, pepper, currant and cedar.  It was medium-bodied with good acidity and fairly light tannins for the varietal.  Alcohol was at 13.9%.  It was a very flavorful wine.  I’d call it “fruit forward” with flavors of dark berries along with notes of cedar, pepper, tobacco, and a hint of dry herbs.  It also came across a little sweeter than it’s 13.9% alcohol would suggest.  The finish was nice and long for a wine in this price range.  I liked it.  Made a nice wine to enjoy on it’s own, but I’m sure it will pair nicely with a variety of dishes.

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McWilliam’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

What do you sip to help you wine down from a busy Saint Patrick’s Day?  I’m not talking about a day spent celebrating dear old Paddy, but a long day at the grindstone after which you are in no shape to play bar games into the wee hours!  Well, how about popping the cork on a bottle of something from another island nation but round the other side of the globe for a quieter celebration at home?

Winemaker:  McWilliam’s
Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  South Eastern Australia
Price:  $12.99

Notes:   In the glass this Australian Cab was a deep dark red – almost murky.  The bouquet was quite loud with scents of dark berries, oak, menthol and earth.  Acidity was good, the body was medium, and I felt the tannins were medium as well.  Alcohol was at 13.5%.  On the tongue I tasted plenty of oak, menthol (at times minty), dark cherry, tea leaf and tar.  Fun stuff, but the flavors are not well integrated at all.  Perhaps it needs some cellaring.  Even so, this McWilliam’s Cab was an acceptably decent wine experience for the $8.99 sale price I paid for the bottle.

[Brief Aside: My spell check tells me cellaring is not a word. Ha!]

Lindemans Bin 45 2012

I saw Lindeman’s Bin 90 Moscato on Food & Wine’s “Best  $15 And Under White Wines” list recently.  While my local store didn’t have the Moscato, they had plenty of other selections from this prolific Australian producer, so I grabbed one and gave it a go.

Vineyard: Lindeman’s
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Bin 45
Vintage: 2012
Appellation: South Eastern Australia
Price: $8

Notes:  At the outset I found this Cabernet Sauvignon pretty tight with limited very dark fruit flavors, a lot of pepper, touches of leather, tar and licorice.  On the finish it had a bitter zing much like camphor.  Tannins were extremely light in this dry red (13.5% alcohol), so this is not a bottle to cellar long.  As the wine breathed, however, it did relax a bit.  It took quite awhile – over half an hour – for this wine to catch it’s breath, so-to-speak, at which time the darker fruits broadened into a pleasant background of cherry.  At the same time it didn’t lose much of the rest of the more strident flavors mentioned, including lots of pepper and that zip at the end.  If you prefer more of an attack on the palate, pour it and drink it.  If you’re looking more for the fruit flavors, I suggest you open it early, decant it, and let it oxygenate a good bit.  It’s an interesting wine and will probably pair well with red meat.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.