The 2010 Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon from California is an OK wine. It’s one of those wines that didn’t really excite me, but didn’t completely disappoint either.
For starters, this vino is much lighter than a classic Cab. Not really robust but not totally flat. Nothing really stood out to me in terms of a specific taste. It seemed like a generic Cab.
It has an overall smooth taste and not a bad finish, but it’s not full enough for me. And frankly, it’s kinda bland.
It is a bargain at under $10, but there are many other Cabs out there that I’d rather spend my money on.
I think I’m somewhere in between the frown and the flat, indifferent face.
What are some of your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon wines?
I honestly don’t remember where or when we got the 2009 Clos Du Bois Marlstone wine. I did not buy it, so it must have been a gift from someone.
Clos Du Bois Marlstone is a red Bordeaux blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. The Marlstone line is from Clos Du Bois’ proprietary series of higher-end wines. Select vineyards in California’s Alexander Valley were created specifically to make this series of wines.
It is a medium- to full-bodied red with flavors of blackberries and cherries. I also tasted a lot of oak. There is a nice balance between the fruit flavor and the acidity. This blend is fairly high in tannins and a little on the dry side.
I believe this wine is in the mid $40 price range. More than I usually spend. I liked the wine OK, but not enough to purchase on a regular basis, especially at that price point.
Or, Don’t Hate on the “Cute, Cheap” Wine
I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle today about the rise of Barefoot Cellars. Now, I’ve never discounted Barefoot. Primarily because I love a good mimosa and Barefoot, being not too expensive and in some iterations, not too sweet, is perfect for that. Mimosas every Sunday without breaking the bank!
But overall, I’m haven’t been a huge fan of Barefoot’s portfolio – until I read the article. Apparently, Barefoot is a rather common entry point into wine for millenial aged wine drinkers? Why? Because it’s approachable (a colorful bare foot on the label) and affordable ($6.99 – $14.99, roughly).
Take a moment, everyone who is not a millenial, and think back to when you were just starting in wine. I remember it vividly. I was away at college and for the first time, away from home. I spent way too much money on the Kentucky gem that is Purple Passion (some sort of grapey drink mixed with Everclear, handily packaged in a 2-liter) and beer. My New Year’s resolution that year was to drink only WINE. I figured I couldn’t really afford it, so I would drink less of it.
By the time I left college, I’d graduated (literally) to Beringer White Zinfandel and various iterations of Turning Leaf. Now those sound rather harsh to me now (and Beringer’s White Zin profits help them create some remarkable Reserve wines you rarely hear about), but it was definitely progress. My boyfriend at the time I graduated must have recognized something in me because he bought me a lovely, vine-detailed wine rack. In fact, I only recently parted from that wine rack, almost 20 years later.
My point is that, as educated wine folks, we tend to make fun or sneer at the lower end, animal/cute labeled wines. We shouldn’t. Those wines are the gateway drug, so to speak, for a younger generation. Just as I was hooked for a while on Beringer’s white zin, the millenials amongst us are drinking Barefoot.
I say, don’t judge. Because sooner than later, those millenials may be planning vacation trips to Sonoma and enjoying wine tastings every weekend at Party Town and Party Source.
Marie Antoinette supposedly said, “Let them eat cake.” Me? I say, “Let them drink anything.” Because the more folks who learn to appreciate wine, through any method, the better. And kudos to Barefoot, as they’re helping recruit a whole new generation of wine drinkers …
I probably shouldn’t write a about a wine that you may not be able to find in area stores, but Tucumen is a new line from Mendoza, Argentina recently shipped to the U.S. So it’s possible it will be more readily available in the near future. My bottle was from the wine club, and I have to say it was a great selection.
Tucumen Malbec 2012 is a delicious wine that combines the Argentinean regions of Tucumán (the sugar land in the North) and Mendoza (the land of vineyards).
The story behind the wine: Produced by the Budeguer family, a third generation farming family and the largest sugar cane producer in Argentina. After a century in Northern Argentina, the family moved south to start their own winery.
I am a fan of Malbec but I don’t usually buy it. Not sure why, but I seem to gravitate toward Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc or red blends. The Tucumen is not as robust as some Malbecs I have had, but it does have the typical bright blackberry and plum fruit flavors, along with a peppery spice. A tad dry but nicely balanced and easy to drink. And I really love the cool, colorful label.
Tucumen Malbec 2012 is in the $20 price range.
Last year I went to France. Specifically, the good folks at Planet Bordeaux sent me, and a group of other bloggers, to Bordeaux for an amazing week. In all seriousness, I can’t even explain how amazing.
I could use the fact that I was simply overwhelmed by France as an excuse for not writing about the trip for a year. However, the true excuse is that so many other real-world changes have been happening to me, writing about France was just low-priority.
As many of you know, I’m now living in San Francisco. In fact, as of a few weeks ago, I’m in the heart of the city. We live in Lower Pacific Heights (no, Michael Keaton is not nearby – but Danielle Steele is). We are in the middle of the rejuvenated Polk Street, the hipster Hayes Valley, the trendy Fillmore District, and the trendy AND hipster Marina (Union and Chestnut Streets). This means that there is simply too much to eat, drink, sample and experience than one could possibly imagine.
But back to France. On Sunday, after partaking in the San Francisco constant that is all-weekend-brunch-with-bottomless-mimosas-everywhere, I was walking along Union Street. Despite walking down this street constantly, I’d never noticed a tiny French delicatessen. Perhaps because my companion and I were out earlier than most weekend denizens of Union Street and there was no one around … regardless, I wandered in based on a sign: “French Wine Club – $20.”
The store is called Chez Berlue. While I’ve been obsessed with all things Paris for the last year, I’ve studiously avoided the rest of France. One step into Chez Berlue and I was taken back to Bordeaux last year. Of course I joined their wine club (although I chose a slightly higher level than $20), and I had a wonderful conversation with the young Frenchman behind the laptop. He just got back from China and while in San Francisco right now, is studying wine in Bordeaux. More exploring led me to discover the great French cookies, jams, TRUFFLES, meats and of course, CHEESE in the front of the store.
It’s the back of the store that’s a miracle of French wine, though. Filled to the brim with French wines of every price tag and from all over – Provence, Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Champagne – it’s all there. It turns out that two young French women own this lovely little store. They love San Francisco but opened the store because there are just certain things they miss about French foods (such as how I miss LaRosa’s Pizza Sauce and Four Roses Single Barrel from back home). One of these two young women was born and raised in a Bordeaux wine family, and she (Julie – the Berlue of the name) maintains the enjoyable wine collection.
My entrance into this store had two effects on me:
1 – I immediately left with two wine club reds and a white, which I’ll review tomorrow.
2 – I left with a renewed energy to write – both about my trip to France and all things wine and French related.
That means you’ll be getting a lot of France from me over the next few months, as I dive into French wines, my trip, and everything else remotely related. See, French wines often LOOK intimidating (blame those grand chateaus on the labels), but in truth, they’re amazingly approachable – and affordable – wines. My goal? To make French wine easier for all of us. I think that’s the goal at Chez Berlue too.
I’ve still got an occasional cocktail review I need to share (Fernet Branca, anyone?) and some occasional wine experiences out here in wine country. But there will be a lot of France. Hang on to your french fries …
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