My husband is a big fan of Cabernet Sauvignon, and I want to get him a special bottle for upcoming Valentine's Day. He likes a Cab with a full fruity character, but also with a very smooth finish (he doesn't like the tannic edge (bitterness) that some Cabs can tend to have).
As an example, he really enjoyed Opus One (can't remember the year...but I think it was 2001). But I would really like to let him try something new.
So any recommendations for California Cabs or French Bordeaux would be greatly appreciated! Looking to spend less than $200. Thanks!
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Not too long ago we hosted a taste-off between "Meritage" and Bordeaux. We had examples that closely matched per vintage and age, going back into the '80s. The '01 Insignia was the hands-down winner of the event, even though some of the Bdx. cost twice as much. Just did an '01 Shafer Hillside and it was drinking wonderfully, with about 45min. in the decanter.
One producer that I have enjoyed, even in the leaner years, is any of the single-vineyard releases from Diamond Creek. The Gravelly Meadow, Red Rock Terrace and the Volcanic Hill are always great performers. Though I have not sampled any of their offerings, post-Al, but I'll bet that Boots has found the right talent to do the wines, as Al would have liked. They usually run in the US$120 range. K&L www.klwines.com, often has some of the older vintages and the markup is usually quite favorable.
Try Channing Daughters 2004 Research Cab...Channing Daughters is a winery located in Bridgehampton, NY....their wines are outstanding...this one sells for around 40.00 a bottle...Try Sherry-Lehmann in NYC for it.
If he likes fruity, he'll probably enjoy Nickel & Nickel. These are really lush and jammy and IMHO some of the tastiest Cali style cabs out there. Get one from one of their Oakville vineyards.
I am a huge fan of Cain Five, especially the awesome 2001. You can't beat the elegance and finesse that a great Napa Meritage like this offers.
Opus One has been off their game with some of the recent vintages, unfortunately. If you are looking to a Napa wine, may I suggest considering Colgin, Vineyard 29, Joseph Phelps Insignia (meritage), Joseph Phelps Backus (Cabernet Sauvignon), Cardinale (owned by KJ, but beautiful wines), Diamond Creek, Shafer (Hillside Select), Dalla Valle, David Arthur,
Del Dotto, Dominus.
Washington State produces some beautiful Cabs as well - more terroir-driven compared to the fruit forward wines of Napa. DeLille, Northstar (Right bank Bordeaux-style).
For Bordeaux selections, I highly recommend paying a visit to the new LA (Hollywood)location of K&L Wine Merchants (openning this month) or look at website. They maintain a virtual real-time inventory, and have some of the best prices around. Ralph Sands is their Bordeaux buyer and brings in some direct imports for exclusive sale as well. (I'm not affiliated with the business in any other way, but a loyal customer.) Call the Redwood City store (HQ) and ask for a Bordeaux, or California specialist; tell them your price range and what you are seeking. They will be most helpful. And because you are in California, you can have it shipped to you!
Thanks for this info. I guess that I have not read my e-mail from "Uncle" Ralph, as I did not know that they were opening a new shop. Hope he's staying in Redwood City. Other than the Del Dotto and David Arthur, which I have not tried, I do agree with the others. A notation: the '01 Insignia bested the '01 Dominus in a single-blind tasting recently. I was torn, but I hosted the event, so it wasn't "blind" for me, but finally gave the nod to the Insignia.
Thanks for the update on K&L. And be sure to tell Ralph, "go Diamondbacks!" He'll probably get the joke. If not, just tell him that Bill Hunt "made" you do it.