Santa Cruz, Chile
$21.99 -- Grape Vine Market, Austin, TX
Color: Deep garnet
Nose: Mushrooms, thyme, blackberry jam
Front: Black cherry
Middle: Plum, firm tannins
Back: Licorice, herbes de provence
Burns clean?: Yes
So far, this is my favorite Chilean wine. The second Cuvée Alexandre I ever had was described in my last post. It was the Merlot, and I liked it, though I think it did not move mountains and part seas for me. It was luscious but well-balanced, and went well with food. In fact, at times it kind of tasted like one of my favorite foods, bacon.
So what of the Cabernet? This wine is from the same year, same maker, same vineyard, costs the same, and has the same alcohol content as the Merlot. This is a true varietal test right here.
If you blindfolded me, I probably wouldn't have guessed that the Merlot was a Merlot--perhaps Malbec. And if you gave me this, I might say it was a Cab, but if you told me it was a Merlot I wouldn't be shocked. They're quite similar in terms of structure and the taste profile: a little fruit up front, some herby earthiness, then a little anise and interesting tannins towards the end. Indeed, the tannins are the biggest difference for me--these are classic Cabernet tannins, while the Merlot had odd, engaging, but chunky ones (and it wasn't in good shape on day two).
With a prime (actually 'choice,' but nicely roasted) rib the herbiness of the wine really came out, a lovely effect.