Fetzer Cabernet Sauvignon is from the Hopland area of Mendocino County. The grapes come from many different vineyards, so forget terroir. Any trace of locality is impossible to detect.
For your calibration purposes, we drank the wine with a black bean soup. The soup was good and hot, but the wine was 72 degrees. Anne had opened the bottle several hours earlier to use as part of the soup.
The color was very deep ruby. The nose had a cassis – black currant – tinge to it along with a warm mulling spice hint as well. The mouthfeel – how weighty or thick the wine feels in the mouth – was thin without any viscosity.
There was sufficient acids in the wines to cut through simple tomato sauces or the beef stock in our bean soup. Still, the acids were somewhat out of balance – meaning there was more acid than fruit behind it and the alcohol was drying at the back of the palate. Tannins – the puckery astringency common to barrels and fruity wines in general – were less of an issue. Lower tannins make it easier to drink a wine sooner, so this wine is not a candidate for storage. And speaking of balance, the percentage of alcohol, at 13.5%, is technically rather moderate (and downright paltry compared to some high-alcohol fruit bombs popular today), but it was still slightly noticeable in the mouth.
The bottom line is the Fetzer is a decent Tuesday night spaghetti wine with no pretensions of greatness. Let’s face it, there are plenty of nights, like when you’re pooped and grumpy and a great bottle of wine just wouldn’t be appreciated. These are the nights for the Fetzer Valley Oaks.