Please don’t think we’ve sold out the OBG mission of highlighting lesser known varieties. We also promise to highlight smaller producers who we believe deserve attention. So, that means a Napa cabernet is bound to turn up in these posts once in a while, especially since with Vergari Wines, there is no winery to find or visit. And, thanks again to winemaker David Vergari for finding us.
The Vergari 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon shows the same attention to detail that Mr. Vergari brings to his pinot noir, including the same deep ruby color from good fruit. The nose is a combination of cherries, berries and rose petals. Michael found himself taking several deep sniffs to get all these aromas because they were almost as good as the flavor.
The first taste showed good acidity and a lush mouthfeel, with a lingering finish that displayed well-balanced tannins that didn’t dry out the mouth. The concentration of fruit and the light use of oak as a spice makes this a decent cocktail wine, if you’re so inclined to drink it by itself.
We’re not so inclined. The wine was so nice and rich we think it would be wasted by itself. Pair it with prime rib, steaks or stews. The alcohol, at a slightly high but acceptable 14.5 percent, will not interfere with the enjoyment of your meal.
A week or so ago, we noted that we’d lost a series of tasting notes. Talk about deep and profound annoyances! We were doing a fast clean up and things always turn missing when that happens. The good news is that we finally found the missing notes in a bag that had gotten kicked under a table.
So here are the tasting notes for the 2008 Consensio Sangiovese:
Type: Dry red
Made with: Sangiovese
Plays well with: Meat sauces, pizza, tomato dishes
It took a few minutes for the nose on the wine to happen. There was no fruit at first, then after a few minutes of exposure to the air, there was the fruit.And there was plenty of it in the mouth, too. But fortunately, it was offset by the tannins and acids, keeping the wine from being heavy or jammy as some sangioveses can be in California. And it was bone dry with no sweetness. It’s a good gulper on its own but if you want it at its best, have it with food, maybe that traditional bolognese (tomato meat) sauce on a big old heap of really long spaghetti. And you probably want to drink it young – meaning right now or in the next year or so. At least, we think so. Let us know whether you prefer younger or older reds and why.
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.