Texture was the hot topic of conversation – where on the mouth it stripped you of saliva, stuffed your face full of cotton balls, or made your teeth feel like they were dissolving. Loads of fruit, loads of odd-ball descriptors, and overall high average scores. The ringer was a pleaser, offering tremendous QPR. Buy it. Preferences were all over the map, so my scores and preferences didn’t highly correlate with the group rankings and scores. And last but not least: a Canadian wine took the top group rank score award!!!!
A: 2004 Torres Mas La Plana Cabernet Sauvignon
Group Score: 83.3 Rank tied for 2/3
Jammy, nutty, delicious, fruit, and lavender on the nose. Also had a really cool Indian spice character. A tannic mouth stripper with a lemon rind finish that was offputting at first – but with food was a complete non-issue. Good concentration, big bold style that’s yummy. 91+
B: 2005 Mitolo Serpico Cabernet Sauvignon
Group Score: 81.8, Rank 4 [Robert Parker: 94]
Corky, leathery, blue and red fruits, sweet & sour Chinese food, toner, horsebarn-esque odd, and awkward on the nose. Palate showed more odd items like fish and ink. Tart long finish of apple core. Points in my books for cool descriptors, points against for not really enjoying them. 88+
Group Score: 88.6, Rank 1
Floral, perfumy, ivory soap, wood, Hawaiian tropics sunblock. I’m a sucker for floral, perfumy wines. Others detest them. This wine was by far the most supple and finesse-y, and also was the lightest wine. 92
D: 2007 The Show
Group Score: 89.1, Rank tied for 2/3
It smelled like cleaning a gun – gunmetal and solvent. Also a very present raisin component with a deep bumbleberry fruit bomby-ness. Good concentration, ended up going the direction of a berry juicebox. A superb value. 87
It had long been decided that Cabernet Sauvignon would be paired with fatty beef. 5-6 hr beef shoulder from Ben’s Meats, garden mash potatoes, charred kale, beef gravy, and a touch of soy and horseradish. All of the wines, with the possible exception of the top ranking C, was clearly improved when taken with food. All the texture issues that were keeping scores down faded and some erasing and re-visiting of scoring on the mouthfeel/texture side was going on. A classic and clearly wonderful pairing.