Dec 192014

Grgich Hills 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Autumn and Winter are the seasons for gorgeous California Cabernet Sauvignon, although some of us love cab any time of year. Cabernet Sauvignon is Napa’s granddaddy wine—the varietal that made Napa Valley’s reputation as one of the world’s premier regions for wine and arguably the world’s best region for Cabernet Sauvignon. I mentioned in a prior blog the competition in France in 1976 when a California chardonnay came in first, along with a California cab. The chard was made by Mike Grgich when he was the winemaker at Chateau Montelena, and the cab was made by Warren Winiarski at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. (Warren was a Chicagoan, by the way, before he migrated to California.) Mike Grgich left Montelena and eventually founded his own label and estate winery, Grgich Hills. His chardonnay is wonderful, but his cab is amazing.

The Grgich Hills estate cab for 2010 is a beautiful, wonderful expression of great Napa cab. I actually ordered this from a wine list in Florida in the fall, and was delighted. I found another bottle in a local wine store last month. The 2010 retails for $45 (a bunch less that the wine list price in the Florida restaurant.) If the 2010 isn’t available, go ahead and grab the 2011, likely for $45 as well. I haven’t had it, but 2011 was a marginally better year for cab in Napa and I’m sure it’s fine.

The 2010 Grgich Hills cab is estate grown (meaning grown on Grgich property) in Napa. It is a deep garnet in color with great viscosity. When held to the light the edges carry some slight brown tint, signaling a raisin, somewhat port taste on the finish. This is a deep, luscious wine with an inky, thick mouth feel, gorgeous tannins and deep, dark berries. The berry is black or boysenberry and you’ll note plum as well. The tannins and dark fruit yield to the very pleasant port taste mentioned earlier, and a long leathery back. This $45 wine tastes like a $75 wine and as I was tasting I was thinking how nice this would be with a big Christmas dinner. Think steak or a roast of beef, but this wonderful wine would work with salmon or lamb and red sauce pastas. This could be a great Christmas accompaniment that you will want to return to Christmas after Christmas.

In my view it’s unusual to find a cab that tastes more expensive than it is. Cab Sauvignon, as opposed to cab franc, some cab blends including “super Tuscans,” and even clarets, are typically expensive if good, and not good if inexpensive. Cab is so wildly popular that markups tend to be high, and if a cab hits cult status or is scored well by Robert Parker of Wine Spectator, the mark up can and will go through the roof. The 2010 Grgich cab is excellent with great taste, great body and a great finish and, at $45, a great price for something so nice. Grab some for Christmas.

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