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.
Hate to say it, but Halter Ranch’s Sauvignon Blanc is an also-ran. We wanted to feature the winery’s 2008 rosé, but it was already sold out. But that doesn’t mean the sauv blanc isn’t any good – just that the rosé was better.
It’s a cool climate sauvignon blanc with the citrus character in the nose that you would expect. Okay, that the hard-core wine geeks would expect. The acids are gentle, not bracing or especially palate cleansing. And the rich mouthfeel and lack of oak contribute to the overall image of a good sipping wine, something to enjoy after a hot, long day at work. But it’s too well balanced and dry not to be enjoyed with a favorite summer brunch or picnic. White beans, cheesy polenta and ceviche would be great partners with a wine like this.
Of the flight of several wines that Elaine Villamin was pouring when we stumbled onto her at one of our local wine stores, Red Carpet Wines in Glendale, CA, this one was easily the best of the flight. It’s made from 100 percent estate grown cabernet. That is, Villamin made the wine from grapes her father grew on his property – and the care they took shows.
It has a deep ruby color, in fact, it’s almost black. There is some grassiness in the nose – which a classic trait found in cabernet sauvignon grapes grown in the cooler regions of Bordeaux, France. Best of all, the wine is extremely well balanced – no acid or fruit leaping out of the glass. Just the rich flavor of a classic red wine. It’s good by itself or better with a hunk of red meat and/or something good and garlicky. It’s a perfect wine to celebrate the good things in life, like some good cheese and bread. Or the fact that it’s Friday night and you’re still alive and employed.