Hello again folks,
Part II of this week’s series, a series dedicated to “Listening to The People”, now takes direct aim at satisfying the palates of the Cabernet and “Cabernet Blends” lovers. This particular category registered second place by only the narrowest of margins in our survey of a couple weeks ago, so addressing your desires for value Cabernets / Blends became my focus while meeting with suppliers these past several days. Interestingly, finding THESE types of wines in that magic price point so many folks are searching for today was easier, but the selections came with caveats in the vast majority of cases.
I’ll explain. Cabernet Sauvignon, in all its glory and all its various forms and blends – be it labelled on its own, dubbed a Meritage from the West Coast in homage to the wines of Medoc, hailing from any of the many appellations of Bordeaux, or from any of dozens of countries from Australia to Chile to Africa and back again – has been the most powerful and successful wine category for as long as I’ve been in the wine business (indeed for as long as wine as been marketed). Carving out market share in this dastardly competitive sector requires serious savvy – and decent wine-making doesn’t hurt either.
Let’s address that first point, one of savvy when marketing your Cabernet / Blend. The major suppliers, distributors, wineries, importers and such that I am forced to play ball with in my antiquated, monopoly driven 3-tiered market state are some of the most powerful companies on the Planet. Through consolidation and the building of literally thousands of multi-thousand square foot liquor stores in the state, the place where I attempt to discover hand crafted and terroir driven wines feels like a vinous waste-land on most days.
These giants of the liquor industry own the rights to most major as well as “individualistic” Cabernets. So to even have an opportunity to sample one, I as an independent merchant will be forced to accept one of the mass-marketed / plonk brands represented by these same suppliers. To paraphrase, if I wish to offer my ever-dwindling base of clients a wine such as Harlan, and I use that one strictly as an example, a stack of somebody’s “Coastal Cabernet” will be demanded in a prominent corner of my wine shop. That’s the wine business in my town, and there’s nothing I can do about it. They call themselves “savvy marketers”.
But once in awhile, once in blue moon as I say, my Dorothy takes care of me. Dorothy is my pet name for one of my suppliers – and she works for THE big boys. She really takes my interests to heart and she absolutely reminds me of a scene right out of The Wizard of Oz. You can imagine the red slippers every time she walks in. She sells me Dunn “on the sly”, brought me an allocation of Loring for literally half the cost of what the mega-mall of liquor was buying it for; in short, she protects us. And with today’s offer, a Blend that takes my palate and mind through a tunnel of Mediterranean as well as New World sensations, she has once again brought us a wine that not only rocks my charts, but is priced like never before, too.
This is McLaren Vale, a Valley town roughly 30 miles south of Adelaide, on the Gulf of St. Vincent. Nearly 50 boutique, family-owned and operated wineries call this beautiful region their home and they describe their climate as almost “Mediterranean” in style. The great Cabernet does very well here, as do the Shiraz, Merlot and a host of other grape types, offering the interested explorer wine types ranging from dry whites to “port-like” wines of the fortified nature. Today’s blend, from the very famous folks at Scarpantoni, brings together Cabernet with Shiraz and Merlot from one of the greatest vintages Southern Australia has recorded in decades, 2002. The good folks here suggested, upon release, this wine age for “up to 8 years” before consumption, to allow for integration. Now that I’ve tasted it with just nearly that suggested bottle age, folks, look out – this is one delicious bottle of wine!
Thanks “Dorothy”, you’ve done it again!
2002 Scarpantoni “School Block”
Scarpantoni Estate Wines
60% Shiraz, 30% Cabernet, 10% Merlot Dry Red Table Wine
McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Review by Cepage Noir
E*Newsletter Winter 2009
Rating: 89 points
“An Excellent wine with all the qualities expected of a near-outstanding rated wine.”
Drink: 2009 – 2012
“A deep, opaque color, bricking at the rim, indicating a wine reaching its window of drinkability. A big, brooding nose, soaring from the glass and offering buckets of decadent black fruits, molasses, black and white pepper, jam and even some wild marmalade nuances, all allied to an almost chicory-like oak frame that is just fabulous to smell. The palate has lost its baby fat and now offers the sweetest, most subtle red berry fruits that are captivating with 30 minutes of air. We have jam, berries and vanilla, with the youthful oak now integrated to offer a decadent yet harmonious and cocoa infused flavor profile. Once a tannic and oaky wine, this is now integrated, polished and quite the drinker. Just delicious. Think lamb, think duck.”
— Cepage Noir
Cabernet fans, fans of full-bodied Blends, Aussie drinkers: this is for you!
Normally about a $25 bottle of wine…
But coming out this week at only $18 per btl!
Think you might want a case? How about $15 per btl on orders of 12 bottles or more?!
If your account is current, you may order via email, or by calling 713-524-9144…