Thursday, February 25, 2016

Winey Tasting Notes: All in the Barrel with Mondavi's Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon

Barrels are a big deal when it comes to wine. New oak, old oak, French oak, American oak: they all bring something different to the vino.

But I recently got to taste some wine that had been barrel aged, not in wine barrels, but in Bourbon Whiskey barrels.  Huh?

Mondavi Bourbon barrel aged Cabernet SauvignonI will admit to knowing very little about Bourbon, or whiskey, be it Bourbon (American) or Irish, or Scotch or whatever. And as I admit that I can hear my Irish grandfather rolling his eyes at me in heaven. (This was man who introduced a cousin and I to whiskey sours way back when. We were 11. Ahem.) Anyway, it remains that I don't have much knowledge when it comes to whiskey.

But one thing I do know now: if you age Cabernet Sauvignon in Bourbon barrels, it's pretty much a match made in heaven. (Are you listening up there, Poppy?)

Leave it to Robert Mondavi wines to come up with this. They start with their California grapes, which make some amazing wine on their own. In this case, the grapes are 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot. Then some of the wine is aged in Bourbon Whiskey barrels for three months. A Bourbon Whiskey barrel, by whiskey law, must be oak and charred inside. 

The result is Robert Mondavi's Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon (2014, 14.5%, CA). I got my first taste of this wine at a little tasting bar and was pretty much wowed by it. Cabernet Sauvignon was my first red wine love, and it's always to fun to find one that's so good.

This wine is deep, dark garnet color. It starts with a nose of cherry - some red but mostly dark, black cherry, mocha and oak. The flavors are big: blackberry and lots and lots of caramel (yum). The flavors are all wrapped up in some toasty oak. The finish is lush and smooth and very well balanced. 

I immediately bought two bottle of this and plan on buying more. But I (and you) will have to buy it quickly, as it's a limited release. The guy who was serving at the tasting warned us about this, which I think was very nice of him. It runs around $13 a bottle and would pair so nicely with steak or pork or Bourbon chicken (I had to throw that one in). 

Buy a few - if you like your wines big and bold and toasty and silky you won't regret it!

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