Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 70

YEAR'S BEST US CABERNETS & BLENDS
The tannins are racy, with a mineral crush of
plum skins and a dark earthy savor that lasts.
Still youthful, this will benefit from five or six
years of bottle age. - J.G. §

88 | Burnside Road

518760

90 | Kunde

since 1955, he proudly touted his organic
farming, certified since the 1990s, practiced
since the beginning. He described his vineyard site as the benchlands of the headwaters
of the Russian River and started bottling his
own estate wines in 1997. Randy Meyer made
this 2018 for Barra, a cabernet with a youthful, bright purple color that seems to carry
through to the bright and luscious purple
fruit. The tannins are herbal and dry-for
one taster, they brought to mind sumac-but
there's plenty of sweet fruit to last through
them and accompany fajitas, a sirloin burger
or filet mignon. This is a terrific glass of wine
to raise in Barra's memory. - J.G. §
521627

$60

2016 Sonoma Valley Drummond Cabernet Sauvignon ^ The Kunde family purchased
this estate in 1904 from John Drummond,
who planted it 25 years earlier using cuttings
they believe came from two first-growth châteaus in Bordeaux. They named this selection
for the founder, presenting a gentle, floral
cabernet with scents of orange blossoms and
cranberries. It's supple and satin-rich, lasting
on red fruit. -J.G. (W&S 2/20; 1,300 cases) §

521503

88 | Sebastiani

$18

2017 North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon
(Best Buy) ^ All about the richness of its fruit,
this cabernet is filled with black-currant flavor and notes of sweet plum liqueur. It's
heady and soft, a red to pour with grilled
chopped sirloin. - J.G. §
521502

85 | Matthew Fritz

$15

2017 North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon
(Best Buy) ^ This wine is tangy and rich, with
tart, herb-scented fruit in a full texture. The
alcohol comes on in the end, needing a slight
chill to quiet the burn. For burgers. - J.G. §

LODI

521621

521862
$20

2018 Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon ^
Charlie Barra died at the age of 92 in June
2019, and this was his last vintage. Having
grown grapes at his Redwood Valley estate
WINE & SPIRITS

521824

88 | Gen5

$11

2016 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^
This punches above its weight, with scents of
plum and violets and flavors of fruit leather
and dark berry compote; for steak. -P.J.C. §

SIERRA FOOTHILLS

DECEMBER 2020

88 | Crystal Basin

$50

88 | Madrona Vineyards

$28

2016 El Dorado Triumphant Grand
Reserve (Best Buy) ^ This is sappy and bright,
with flavors of tart cherry juice and salted
plum. With its tannic edge, it will pair well
with pork shoulder. -P.J.C. §
521849

$28

2017 Red Hills Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ This grows at Andy Beckstoffer's vineyard in the Red Hills, planted in
obsidian-rich volcanic soils, yielding a complex, red-currant-rich high-altitude cabernet. The fruit has an elegant feel, with notes
of mulberries to darken the currant tones.
Some overt oak needs time to meld into the
wine, but there's plenty of fresh fruit underneath to stay the course. -J.G. (W&S 6/20;
3,500 cases) §

70

$11

2018 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^
There's loads of crunchy flavor in this redfruited cabernet, with its scents of red plum
and evergreen spice. What it lacks in structure it makes up for in clean, lush flavor. It's
a steal at $11. -P.J.C. §

521812

518365

90 | Barra

89 | Avalon

$18

2017 Red Hills Lake County Cabernet
Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ Based in the Russian
River Valley, Joe Otos makes wines from California's north coast, including this cabernet
from the Red Hills above Clear Lake's southwestern shore. The wine's black-currant flavors have the earthiness of fruity black mushrooms; the tannins have a hard feel, like hard
water, needing a lean, iron-rich dish, like
mint-crusted lamb. - J.G. §

NORTH COAST

91 | Steele

soil. The cherry-pie flavors are forward but
balanced; a crowd-pleaser for ribs. -P.J.C. §
521792

90 | Peirano Estate

$15

2018 Lodi The Heritage Collection Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ A lot of wine for
the price, this leads with attractive red-cherry
scents lined with just a whiff of clay-flecked

2017 El Dorado Signature Collection Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ This offers a
wood-driven panoply of flavors, notes of
clove, mace and fruitcake spices on dried
and candied plum fruit. Decant and pour
for grilled chicken. -P.J.C. §

C E N T R A L C O A S T: S A N TA
C R U Z M O U N TA I N S
521730

98 | Ridge

$230

2017 Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello ^
This wine may have the most intense and
vibrant color of any of the 2017 cabernets
we tasted. It definitely has the most vibrant
length of flavor, with a complexity that lasts
for minutes after each taste and makes it
seem disrespectful to spit. Everything about
it is a seamless pleasure, particularly the
way it incorporates the freshness of cabernet grown in limestone into pure blackcherry flavors, saturated without any sense
of weight. The fruit, organically grown and
spontaneously fermented, has nothing to


https://www.kunde.com/product/2016-Cabernet-Sauvignon---Drummond--Sonoma-Valley--Destination-Series https://www.wine.com/product/gen5-cabernet-sauvignon-2016/655744 https://shop.foleyfoodandwinesociety.com/Wine-Shop/Brands/Sebastiani https://www.barraofmendocino.com/Our-Wines/Featured-Releases

Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 4
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 5
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 6
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 7
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 8
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 9
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover4
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