Cabernet Sauvignon

DeLille conjures Bordeaux in Washington State

DeLille conjures Bordeaux in Washington State

t's a complicated story, but Pat's former step-grandfather-in-law was a Frenchman who believed in drinking excellent wine with simple food. He was convinced that Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe elevated charcoal-grilled hot dogs to a gastronomic occasion. We carry on his vision in our household. We don't eat a lot of red meat—except in the summer, when a charcoal grill can make a hamburger the apotheosis of American cuisine. We enjoyed just such a burger in the backyard with a superb red wine—the 2016 Four Flags Cabernet from DeLille Cellars (14421 Woodinville-Redmond Rd. NE, Woodinville, WA; 425-877-9472; delillecellars.com). Founded in 1992, DeLille resides in the top echelon of Washington State wineries. By focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon from four old vineyards in the Red Mountain AVA (part of the Columbia...Read More
Jordan captures the luscious bounty of Sonoma

Jordan captures the luscious bounty of Sonoma

You can be forgiven if you rub your eyes at first sight of Jordan Vineyard & Winery (1474 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, 707-431-5250, jordanwinery.com). It looks like a mirage. Tom and Sally Jordan established the 1,200-acre Alexander Valley estate in 1972 as an homage to Bordeaux. True to their vision, the ivy-covered manse overlooking gardens and vineyards appears to have been transported whole from the gently rolling hills of Entre-Deux-Mers. Now their son John Jordan (above) continues the tradition of crafting Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Russian River Valley Chardonnay in the Old World style. Producing two superb wines—one modeled on Bordeaux's Saint-Julien, the other on Burgundy's Montrachet—gives Jordan Winery a clarity of focus. But following the model of Napa, Jordan is a destination winery....Read More
Comstock embodies Sonoma wine country living

Comstock embodies Sonoma wine country living

The success of the 2004 film Sideways made California Merlot unpopular for a while. But the dip in that red's reputation might have made helped clear the way for the winery and tasting room at Comstock Wines (1290 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-723-3011, comstockwines.com, tastings $20-$50). The photo above looks out the back of Comstock's tasting room to old Merlot vineyards. (That's a blue heron flying over the vines.) Many more vines were sacrificed to clear ground to build the winery, tasting room facility, and wine club residence. But not too many. Founded in 2012 using much older vineyards, Comstock still makes an outstanding Merlot that shows the restraint of the cooler Dry Creek Valley climate but bursts with black currant and violets. Currently producing...Read More
1865 wines push Chilean boundaries

1865 wines push Chilean boundaries

As the planet's temperature rises, wine regions creep into zones once considered inhospitable for Vitis vinifera. Chile is no exception. Matias Cruzat, the young winemaker for Viña San Pedro's 1865 brand (sanpedro.cl/en/1865-single-vineyard), casts the newer cold-climate vineyards as “seeking Burgundy in Chile.” To his credit, Cruzat isn't imitating the Burgundians. But he has steered the 1865 wines toward a balance between old and new world styles. Bargain-priced in the $12-$18 range, these are nonetheless premium wines. (Viña San Pedro's entry-level wines sell under the GatoNegro label.) Cruzat's reference to Burgundy refers to the newest 1865 single-vineyard wines: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Elqui Valley. “It is really the southern end of the Atacama Desert,” he points out. The region has grown grapes since the...Read More

Compelling CARO marries Mendoza and Bordeaux

In November, we wrote about the CARO Amancaya blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon as a bargain big red. (See this post.) On a cold and rainy March weekend, we decided it was time to dust off a bottle of that wine's big brother. The 2013 CARO is a 50/50 blend of Malbec grown in Mendoza's Lujan de Cayo district (above, courtesy of Bodegas CARO) and Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the adjoining Uco Valley. The CARO wines are a joint project between Nicolas Catena and the Barons de Rothschild. In this top wine of the collaboration, intense Argentine fruit meets Bordeaux-style winemaking to great effect. It retails for $50-$60. We pondered what would pair well with such a voluptuous red and decided that grilled steak...Read More