Based on this red blend, this is an aptly named winery. It’s just like that person at the bar that may be fun to flirt with, but you don’t want to take it home. It gave me what my wine annotator describes as “red wine face”…which is not a good thing. Luckily, we found this at our local Aldi’s grocery store for about five bucks. I’ll stick with the slightly cheaper Winking Owl they sell that is surprisingly good.
With this 2014 cabernet sauvignon, Stave & Steel, out of Paso Robles, CA, has managed to accomplish what many wineries and breweries are attempting to do lately: strike a perfect balance of their product (wine, in there case) with the scent and taste of bourbon. Too often, these beers and wines over-age their products and the result is a beer or wine that tastes too strongly of bourbon. Now, I like bourbon, but beer and wine should taste like beer and wine, not like a shot of bourbon.
Stave & Steel’s 2014 Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon was timed perfectly. It’s a solid, tasty cab sauv with a hint of bourbon on the nose and on the tongue.
I’m actually not kidding about the covert part in the title. Black Ops is not part of the tasting list at Pearmund Cellars. They sell it as one of their reserves, which was great for us on Black Friday when all their reserves were on sale. So what’s covert about it? A couple things: it’s a red blend, but they won’t tell what is blended in, percentages of grapes/wines or even which grapes/wines are used…even to their employees pouring wine for the tasting masses. They also won’t reveal the alcohol percentage of the vintages.
Aside from the mystery of it all, the important part is the taste. Not being one of those folks who can taste every separate ingredient and grape in the wine, I can only tell you that it is good…for me, anyway. I think I caught a hint of tobacco giving it a slight smokiness that I really like (would have liked more of it in this one), and it was nice and full, like the cabs and merlots that I really like. That’s about as good as I can do in describing its taste and body.
Had we been able to taste it first, I probably would not have bough it. Not that it isn’t good, but I really loved Pearmund Cellars Merlot**…and it was less expensive that Black Ops.
**look for my review of Pearmund Cellars Merlot soon
I know there are a lot of people who like zinfandels, red and the dreaded ‘white zin’. I have not been one of them. My in-laws enjoy them and I’ve tried many, but they aren’t to my liking. The week before Thanksgiving, my wife and I were shopping in our local Trader Joes and our favorite wine expert Wall-E recommended this Zindandel based on my description of what I like in a wine. I was a bit apprehensive since I don’t like zins and it sells for $15ish, which is more than our usual price point for retail store wines, but we took his advice and bought a bottle. Wall-E has led me to the only zinfandel I like. I guess the bourbon barrel aging is the key. I’m very happy with this wine and will be sure to let Wall-E know next time I see him.
The third and fourth bottles at Thanksgiving this year are Keswicks’s Cabernet Franc and StoneGate’s Cabernet Sauvignon. I like them both. Prefer the StoneGate, I think. The Keswick’s temperature coming out of the wine fridge may have been too cool to get the full effect, though.
Made from grapes used for port, Touriga has a smoky full taste that gives me a happy, warm feeling. It’s the first bottle of Thanksgiving 2016…with many more to follow. Cheers!
This porto, much like Miss Tawny, is very yummy. It’s not too syruppy with just the right amount of sweet.