Though it probably won’t feel like it for the next few days, soon enough it won’t be so comfortable out by the grill. By the same token, you might want wines with more body and structure to stand up to the cooler evening air. Take a look at these.
Seaglass 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, ($14.95). Seaglass, from one of my favorite regions, Paso Robles, makes pleasant wines for the most part, but like most vineyards, it also produces a real value now and then and this is one of those. An exceptionally warm region still influenced by the reach of the Pacific Ocean, Paso Robles is ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon, thanks to a wide variation in day-to-night temperatures, diverse soils and an extended growing season. A minimalist approach to winemaking helped preserve the rich flavor and bright acidity of our Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. Following fermentation in stainless steel tanks, this wine was aged in French and American oak barrels, striking the perfect balance between varietal flavor, crisp acidity and oak character. The final blend is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 2% Petite Sirah. The wine opens with distinct aromas of black plum and cherry and spice. The palate is rich and complex, with ripe flavors of blackberry and black cherry, framed by hints of spicy oak on the finish. Sit around your firepit or grille with a glass of this one and don’t forget the angus burgers or strip steaks!
Mossback 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chalk Hill, Sonoma, ($22.95). The term “mossback” is an old expression for farmers, folks connected to their roots and to the land. The Giguiere family has a storied tradition of farming in the Dunnigan Hills, having produced the R.H. Phillips wines and the Toasted Head wines they have invaluable and long relationships with the best farmers in the region for sourcing fruit. Chalk Hill is a small AVA with a unique microclimate that favors Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes were all hand-harvested, destemmed and crushed into small stainless-steel fermenters. They undergo a 24 hours “cold soak” to enhance the berry aromas before fermentation. Pumped over the wine twice a day to enhance color stability and aromas and pressed off at dryness into French, Hungarian and American oak barrels for 22 months. The final blend is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Merlot. This silky Cab shows an enticing mix of berries, currants, leather and cigar box aromas. On the palate, there’s a lush mouthfeel with layered flavors of cassis, black cherry, vanilla and cocoa. The polished tannins lead to a silky finish. This is a rich, round, dense Cabernet that will age gracefully for several years, but one you can also enjoy right now with game birds, roasts or a nice Porterhouse.
Chianti Classico Riserva 2007, Il Brunone, ($34.95). This is a rare Riserva with 10 years of age and drinking at the peak of perfection. Produced only in the best vintages, this Riserva is made from selected grapes in the Il Brunone single vineyard which grows the mother clone, one of the oldest existing Sangiovese clones. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature for 12-18 days. After the alcoholic fermentation, the wine is placed in cement-vitrified tanks for the second fermentation known as the governo method. The technique involves saving a batch of harvested grapes and allowing them to partially dry. The half-dried grapes are added to the must which then gives the yeast cells a new source of sugar to enliven the batch and adds richness and complexity to the wine. The wine is aged 24-32 months in 20 and 15 hectoliter Slovenian oak casks and then extended bottle aging in the winery cellar. When it was released Wine Enthusiast Magazine scored this – 90 points – saying, “Made with Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo, this wine starts with aromas that recall plum cake, prune, dried cherries, vanilla and a hint of leather. The palate offers up juicy black cherry, black raspberry, white pepper and cake spices that are balanced with silky, smooth tannins. Soft, round and ready to enjoy, it will maintain well for another few years at least. Drink through 2022.” Have it with Veal chops, Beef Wellington or Steak Diane-tremendous!
Mongrana 2013 Maremma, Toscana IGT, Querciabella, ($24.95). From their own estate vineyards in Maremma, the grapes are picked by hand. In the cellar, they undergo fermentation in stainless steel vats. After malolactic fermentation, the wine undergoes aging both in stainless steel and cement tanks until it is blended to be bottled. Mongrana is a pure expression of the coastal Maremma region of Tuscany where the great Super Tuscans, Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Guado Al Tasso and many more are produced. 50% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. No animal products or byproducts are used in the production, making it suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Pretty on the nose, with bright cherry, raspberry and cola enhanced by the floral and oaky notes. It’s delicate on the palate, but it displays great balance and structure. Drinking very nicely right now, it reminds me of a Tuscan version of a “Petit Chateau” from Bordeaux-big on structure and taste, at a very reasonable price.
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