Tag Archives: Cabernet

The Sum

Another catch-up tasting note; I had this at Terry B’s in Dexter last week.  It’s an intricate label, and I wish my pictures had come out better (Chad, your photobomb was blurred out – no worries!)

The Sum has a great pedigree – one of the winemakers is Tuck Beckstoffer, son of famed Napa grower and vintner Andy Beckstoffer. The wine is 75% Cab, with Syrah and Petite Sirah to finish off the blend.

The Sum Red (2011) California

20140415_173055Color: straight ruby red.

Aroma: a jammy and spicy nose.

Taste: cherry and kirsch, not too tight. Good acidity and balance, which is a challenge in Cabernet from California if the vineyard location, the breed of grape, and the weather aren’t in sync.

Nice overall; a good deal for a restaurant pour.


Wine Tasting Report – Frei Brothers at Kroger Austin Landing

The mega-Kroger has been open in Austin Landing for about a year, but this was my first chance to attend one of their wine tastings. They really go all-out on Friday, with some very impressive hot appetizers and dinner options from the kitchen. And they have a full on-premise license, so you can open any bottle on the shelf if the tasting flight doesn’t appeal to you!

This week they sample Frei Brothers wine from California, and I had the roast vegetable flatbread and the Tuscan-style poached corvina.  The wines were a mixed bag, but the Merlot stood out positively.

Frei Brothers Chardonnay (2012) Russian River Valley – $17

Color: very bright yellow,

Aroma: predominately apple, with some toast and vanilla underneath.

Taste: high acid for a Chardonnay; the apple carries into the midpalate, but then oak dominates from there to the finish.  Decent enough, but not really noteworthy.

Frei Brothers Pinot Noir (2011) Russian River Valley – $23

Color: quite dark for Pinot; I suspect there may be something else blended in.

Aroma: cherry and oak, with some forest-floor and earth.

Taste: quite full-bodied and almost jammy. This is not really varietally correct, so I’m almost certain they threw in 15% or so of Zin or Syrah to plump it up. Disappointing, actually.

Frei Brothers Merlot (2012) Sonoma County – $20

Color: garnet red

Aroma: very inviting spiciness.

Taste: round, dark, full, with a big dollop of fruit throughout. This is nice stuff, darker and heavier than a typical California Merlot. On the finish, the acidity you expect finally makes its appearance. I think this is the star of the tasting.

Frei Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon (2011) Alexander Valley – $20

Color: very dark purple.

Aroma: mostly earth notes, with some cassis and blueberry.

Taste: this is thinner in the mouth than what you expect. The Merlot is actually bigger than the Cab – this bottle is disappointing.

Drinking Tonight: Caretaker Cabernet Sauvignon

A new bottling I saw at Trader Joe’s last week. I’m drinking this with some pulled pork.

Caretaker Cabernet Sauvignon (2011) Paso Robles, California – $12

Photo0324Color: garnet-ruby red.

Aroma: lots of red fruit – cranberry, cherry, red currant.

Taste: definitely on the red fruit side – loads and loads of cherry, with some kirsch (cherry brandy) notes as well. Not terribly tannic, but has a little black pepper towards the finish. This develops some more spice and earth notes, including anise and tea, as it opens up.

A good pairing choice, as it turns out. This is softer and more complicated than the usual California Cab fruit-bomb, and bears looking in to. I’ll buy a few more bottles to cellar for a 2-3 years.