In December, we are offering three different takes on the Platinum Club of Cabernet Sauvignon. The grape, according to wine guru Jancis Robinson, “is the world's most famous red wine grape, and most planted of any colour.” A crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, Cab is a late-ripening variety that needs a warm, dry climate to thrive. Associated with blackcurrant and other dark fruits, it can take on notes of cedar, graphite, and/or cigar box depending on its oak aging regimen. Cabernet can also smell and taste of mint, eucalyptus, and other herbaceous notes if the grapes are crushed when not fully ripe. Cabernet can potentially be cellared from 7 to 10 years (depending on if you want to wait that long!), and Left-Bank Bordeaux wines, with their predominance of Cabernet in the blend, are known as ‘Vin de Garde’ (or wine for keeping), and often don’t hit their peak until 20 years, resulting in softer tannins and more pronounced tertiary flavors, like dried fruits, mushroom, earth, leather, and meat. The Cabernets to try right now are the Chono, from Maipo Valley, Chile, near Santiago; the DeLille Cellars ‘Metier,’ from Columbia Valley, Washington; and a real treat of a wine, the Château Cordet, from Margaux, in Bordeaux. The Chono engages you with red fruits like strawberry, cherry, and cassis, along with some dried herbs and dark chocolate. The ‘Metier’ conjures up darker fruits, like black cherry, in addition to savory notes like black olive. The Château Cordet, with 65% Cabernet Sauvignon rounded out with other Bordeaux varietals, entices upfront with floral notes, then evolves in the glass with blackcurrant and culminates in pepper and leather. All three of these wines have been aged a good amount of time in oak, which helps to marry Cab’s fruit and woodsy flavors. In addition, we also have several Cabs on our By-the-Glass menu, from the approachable Intermingle to fan favorite Opolo to higher-end Silver Ghost. Next time you are at Steve’s choose a Cabernet and enjoy this most noble of grapes!
A Special Start with our Sparkling Wine of the day.
Wines are in order when tasting all 8 wines.
With such a whimsical name and label, you might think that this wine is simply a breath of fresh air (which it is!), but the winemakers behind the brand, Brendan and Laura Carter, are serious about giving back to causes they deem significant. Único Zelo (which means “unique zeal”) is a certified B corporation, a rare designation given to businesses that have high standards in performance, accountability, and transparency. This wine is so called because they donate 1% of their revenue to jungle reforestation. This Dolcetto is fresh and fruity while maintaining high acidity. It offers up notes of bright plum and cherry, rhubarb and finishes with a tinge of pink peppercorn. While it would be a delightful start to almost any holiday meal, let’s put it with some pizza from the reimagined Tomato Food Truck, a staple in Denton.
Gorgeous beaches are abundant on the limestone peninsula that makes up Salento in Puglia, but there are also 11,000 hectares of vineyards that make up the area, including Vespa Winery, in western Puglia. Riccardo Cotarella, the winemaker known as the “mago”—or wizard—is so named because he was instrumental in the Italian wine renaissance during the 1990s and early 2000s. Traditionally, Primitivo has been used as a blending grape, but renewed interest occurred when it was discovered to be genetically identical to Zinfandel. The Primitivo grape thrives in Puglia, and it is often a softer version of what is found in New World styles. The ‘Il Bruno’ invites you with tart red fruits along with spicy pepper and a velvety mouthfeel. A charcuterie plate from our friends at Ten:One Artisan Cheese would be an enticing pairing.
Italy has more grape varieties than any other region, including about 2,000 indigenous grapes. From volcanic soils and limestone coasts to the rolling hills of Tuscany and the majestic Italian Alps, Italy boasts a myriad of microclimates that fosters numerous grapes. However, a few winemakers living in Tuscany began experimenting with international varieties as a way to buck the stringent system of aging and percentage requirements administered in the most prominent wine regions. While the first Super Tuscans were created in the 1950s and 60s, the Italian government didn’t approve the Toscana IGT until 1992 (we’ll call it red tape). The Uggiano Toscana is a well-balanced Super Tuscan blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Syrah. Robust fruits like strawberry and fig open up the palate, culminating in spice, cinnamon, and licorice. A fun accompaniment would be the delectable panzanella salad from The Chestnut Tree.
The name ‘Chono’ may ring a bell as we experienced the Chono Red Blend on the Club about 18 months ago. The name refers to the indigenous nomadic tribe who inhabited the archipelago in Chilean Patagonia. Charles Darwin described the Chono as ‘intrepid pioneers,’ and the Chono brand, in homage to the past, believes that their viticulturalists and winemakers exhibit similar qualities, searching Chile’s best vineyards to create the most promising wine offerings. Each of Chono’s wines are sourced from single vineyards, which conveys their dedication to planting the best grapes in the most optimal locations. The Chono is a robust and rustic expression of Cabernet, showcasing cherry, strawberry, cassis, mint, and dark chocolate. Your choice of kebabs from Green Zatar would comprise a most complementary culinary experience.
Evelyn and Leo Trentadue moved to a farm in Alexander Valley that, over a hundred years prior, had cultivated fruit trees and vines. Apparently, one of the vineyard blocks had several different reds grapes that, when blended together, created a most delicious wine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, with time and age (and Prohibition), the exact recipe for this field blend, called ‘Old Patch Red’ was lost. So every vintage, the Trentadues seek to recreate that blend, playing with varieties and percentages to land upon the right red. The 2021 ‘OPR’ consists of 55% Zinfandel, 27% Petite Sirah, 17% Carignane, and the remaining 1% is Sangiovese. Floral on the nose and with flavors of raspberries, black cherries, as well as cherry cola, vanilla, smoke, and cocoa, it is a harmonious treat. Get your hands on some barbecue from The Juicy Pig, and go to town with a glass of ‘OPR’ by your side!
The Douro River has fostered wine production for more than 2,000 years. In 2001, it was demarcated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. While the region is certainly beautiful, the primary reason for its UNESCO recognition is due to the positive human influence on the shaping of the landscape. Spectacular terraces are cut into the valley, and the crystal-clear water reflects the changing colors of the vines throughout each season. Of course, this area is world-renowned for Port, but those same grapes can be produced into a nonfortified wine like the ‘Lago.’ Tinto Roriz (Tempranillo), Tinta Franca, Tinta Barroca, and Touriga Nacional constitute this wine, an inky and vigorous red blend. The initial red and black fruits are met with rich notes of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and dried herbs. Burgers seem like a no-brainer coupling for this approachable wine, so order your favorite jumbo from Burger Time Machine and get after it!
A top wine region for reds (and whites like Riesling), the Columbia Valley sees about 300 days of sunshine each year. It has a long growing season which allows the grapes to ripen beautifully despite getting only 6-8 inches of rain, which is equivalent to the rainfall in the Gobi Desert! The Columbia River and the snowmelt from the Cascade Mountains provide the necessary irrigation for the vines, and the loess soils, a combination of silt and sand, are great for drainage and increasing aromatics. DeLille Cellars uses all these factors to foster lovely Bordeaux-style wines. Their company motto is “always seeking,” and they strive for constant improvement and continuous discovery in viticulture. Further proof, Robert Parker recognized DeLille with a 5-star rating. Our second Cabernet in the lineup, this offering enlivens the senses with darker notes like black cherry, black currant, black olive, baking spice, and tobacco. The lamb meatloaf burger from Hannah’s would be exquisite with the ‘Metier.’
We have had a number of Bordeaux blends on the Club, and they are all delicious. Most are from either Entres-deux-Mers, the area between the Left and Right Bank, or from the Right Bank proper. Both regions make amazing wine, but the grapes are usually a little more Merlot- or Cabernet-Franc heavy (and not dominated by the world’s most famous red, Cabernet Sauvignon). But not this time! We present a Left-Bank Bordeaux from Margaux, an appellation in the Haut-Médoc, which lies about 15 minutes north of the city of Bordeaux. Comprised of a majority of Cab, the wine also has 25% Merlot 6% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. Yes, this is our third Cabernet-focused wine on the lineup, and yes, it is luscious and age-worthy. Its seductive floral aromas of lilac and acacia flower invite you to take a taste, and then flavors of dark cherry, black currant, pepper, and leather command your attention. Innumerable dishes can be paired with the Château Cordet, but the wood-fired sirloin from Green House sure sounds delightful.