I have quite a few entries to post, including some from a very nice wine tasting trip up to Santa Barbara, but I will post this one first. I had purchased a bottle of 2002 Chateau St. Jean “Cinq Cepages”, a wine composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot from Sonoma. While one could think of this as a meritage the people at CSJ classify it as a Cabernet because of the high percentage (at least 75% in any given vintage) of that grape in the blend.
I was very excited about this wine, having had it shipped from invino to my home back in California.
We opened it up yesterday for dinner, which was New York strip steaks topped with caramelized onion, creamy mashed potatoes, and a nice green bean, tomato, and feta cheese salad. True to form, I opened it up about an hour before dinner to drink while cooking. Very dark, saturated color. On the nose there was prune and blueberry, and herbs. When my mom tried it she said it tasted salty–I agree: there was sort of a cured olive aspect to the wine. I got the prune and berries, along with tar, tobacco, licorice, and stone–nicely integrated, soft tannins. It had a long finish, resolving to lighter red fruit notes.
Overall, very good and an easy-to-drink wine. It paired well with the dinner, too. However, I’m not sure if I’d pay $70 for the wine; I got it from invino for about $40. If I can find this wine for $40 I would probably buy it again. I enjoyed it more than the 2005 Clos du Val “Stags Leap District” Cabernet Sauvignon (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot) I had purchased from invino a while back.
While similar in style (Bordeaux, not Blockbuster) to the Cinq Cepages, the Clos du Val was simply not well integrated. There were good things–terrific fruit, for instance–but the elements were distinct and not part of a unified whole. That being said, I would definitely try it again in a few years just to make sure. The critics love it and there are good things going on in the glass.
I am a lucky man. Not only do I have a home to go to for Christmas, but I get to try some terrific wines. Not least of all, however, I have a very cute dog to keep my spirits bright!
Happy holidays, everyone!