A blind tasting of fruit-forward and more reserved style Cabernet and Cabernet Franc wines
At this blind tasting we sought to contrast different wine making styles while at the same time comparing wines made in Napa along with wine made in Santa Barbara County. We tasted three wines, which are listed below:
The Judge Cabernet - 2011
The nose was quite closed, with only slight hints of oak. The wine was dark in color and presented as having very long legs, later confirmed with 14.8 % alcohol content. The wine had a somewhat fast finish after having presented a big fruit-forward opening that was also a bit sweet. It had a reasonable middle palate and seemed to have modest structural elements. The wine also had a lingering gammy taste with modest tannins. In summary I was encouraged about the wines’ structure and tannins, but it was unclear if the wines’ modest structural elements would enhance the wine significantly over time. The wine cost $115/btl and was made from 100% cabernet sauvignon.
Snowden Cabernet Sauvignon – 2007
The wine presented with some good hints of cherry and leather at the open and became rounder over time. The wine was dark in color, appearing like a dark supple leather. The wine was much more approachable than others in the tasting and had a good long finish. Dryer flavors of sweet leather dominated this rich well-structured wine that also seemed to have hints of sweetness. (Later I realized this was the sweetness of the Cabernet Franc coming out.) Some lingering hints of tannin were also present, but seemed well subdued. The wine suggested it has matured well in the bottle, but likely has passed its most expressive phase. The wine cost $80/btl and was made from 86% cabernet sauvignon and 14% cabernet franc.
Jonata El Alma – 2007
This wine was a bit closed to the nose. In the glass the wine was very opaque, with a very dark inky color. It was slightly softer and somewhat less structured than others in the tasting. It had a good amount of fruit for what I originally thought was a California Cabernet that was also not overbearing and well structured. The wine had a reasonable amount of tannin but had a faster finish than what I would have expected. Over time the wine did present a bit more tannin, but also seemed to close down after about one hour in the glass. It expect this wine will continue mature and deepen over time. The wine cost $125/btl and was made from 89% cabernet franc, 7% merlot, 3% cabernet sauvignon, 1% petit Verdot.