I’m not a huge health fanatic but Mike just celebrated his 30th birthday and mine is just months away. Now I’m not someone who fears age, in fact, I embrace it. I really do believe that by the time you near or hit 30 a lot of things start coming together. You feel less lost about the future, perhaps more secure with who you are as a person… I really could go on and on, but this all really has nothing to do with wine. All said… I decided with the upcoming 30th birthday to do a cleanse. This was a challenging act for a couple of reasons.
1) I work in an incredible restaurant with amazing food, that surely won’t fit into the cleanse (upon this realization I envision my next 2 weeks spent gnawing on celery and romaine hearts, crying over a plate of Short Ribs with Fries that I cannot eat). And…
2) No Alcohol, or to be exact No Wine (shudder).
Not only this but I have been assigned a great bottle of wine to try.
The 2010 Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County
So I came up with a bit of a game plan… I’d try it in 2 stages, or moreso 3 stages, one not involving my participation.
Stage 1: The evening before starting this cleanse I made up a delicious supper of pork schnitzel and brussel sprouts, had a roaring fire, and then chocolate cake for dessert. The wine paired perfectly on all counts. If the pork had been dry and this wine incredibly tannic it probably wouldn’t have worked, but neither was the case. The bacon in the sprouts complemented the wine with its smokiness and I’m a firm believer that Cabernet and chocolate are a perfect match.
Stage 2: We had gotten a freak snow storm a day or two prior. It was now day one of the cleanse and Mike and I hadn’t finished the bottle from dinner the night before. So we combined these 2 events and invited our friend Zack over to build a snowman and to try the wine himself. Zack has recently moved home from working in Chile for the last few years so he is a new friend to me but Mike has known him for years. He has an interest in learning about wine so I try to involve him as much as I can. With no food pairing whatsoever he enjoyed the wine. It was thoroughly enjoyed alongside a day of snowman building in April.
Stage 3: I have finished the cleanse, I’m out and about in my day and I get a text from my girlfriend who moved to Kelowna (and who I miss very much). She’s taking a few personal days, is driving back from Kelowna today, and will see me in ten hours!…. And I have the night off!!!! My first thoughts are… what will we drink? I figure I’ll pick up the Duckhorn, give it a second try and add it to this entry. It was so good seeing Sarah again! Catching up like old times over a delicious bottle of red and some cheese was precisely what we both needed. We enjoyed a selection of Edam, Smoked Gouda and Old Cheddar with this wine.
All in all I think I was able to stretch my experience with this bottle pretty far. It shows great versatility for a variety of food to pair with but has the ability to be drunk solo and enjoyed just as much. Personally if I’m looking for a great wine it should be able to be enjoyed without the help of a food pairing.
From a technical standpoint: The nose on this wine was fairly typical of a Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. Lots of tobacco, liquorice and cedar box. I found the nose of it a little hot, which I found surprising since the wine sits at 13.9% alcohol… not super high.
What I loved was the taste itself. Like I said, I found the nose a little hot, which would indicate to me that the alcohol might be a bit high and imbalanced. The reality was that it was actually a very nicely integrated and had the tannin structure and medium acidity to soften the wine out. I started picking up notes of jujube on the palate and big ripe cherries; it ended softly with the fruit flavors mingling with vanilla and white pepper.
I would definitely decant this wine as there is lots of sediment. Alternatively you could absolutely age this wine for the next 3 years without issue, it would be delicious come the holiday season on a particularly cold night or should you decide to build a snowman.
We have this beauty available for $41.99 and it’s worth every penny.
Cheers ‘til next time!