Though we have put off discussion of Cabernet Sauvignon until now, the grape is perhaps the world’s most famous, known both for its popularity on its own and for its role in the blended wines of Bordeaux.
In warm climates, such as California and Chile, Cabernet Sauvignon ripens well, so it needs no partners. But in Bordeaux, which is in the southwest of France, the short, relatively cool growing season means that Cabernet Sauvignon rarely works on its own. To counteract the herbaceous, green bell pepper taste the grape acquires when inadequately ripened, Bordeaux vintners tend to blend it with a fleshier and fruitier variety, like Merlot or Cabernet Franc.
Chateau Porto Carras Cotes de Meliton 2003, $22.95, from Northern Greece, mimics the Bordeaux blend delightfully. A dash of the local Limnio grape offers notes of blackcurrant and cedar, giving the wine a soft mouthfeel and long finish.
Marques de Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, $19.95, a Chilean, is a 100 percent Cab, much beloved by Wine Spectator. The cherry and blackberry nose has an earthy or dusty dimension to it on the palate, with a bit of coffee and oak to round out the experience.
Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, $22.95, has a cherry and toasty oak nose and taste that are utterly compelling. And, Obama’s vino of choice is reportedly this vineyard’s Reserve Chardonnay. Can we recommend this Californian gem? Yes, we can!