Photo: Root: 1 Wine
But I thought it might be fun to look at other wine-growing regions around the world where Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are grown. One advantage to looking outside of Napa is that the Cabs cost much, much less. (It's difficult to find a quality Napa Cab under $30.) This is true from the state of Washington to Mendoza, Argentina.
Here are six juicy Cabs that I recently sipped and fell in love with -- and none are from Napa.
Root: 1 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($12)
There's a tart punch of fruit on the finish, and the pomegranate nose is intriguing. Mocha and black-currant notes are expressive and confident. 18% Syrah is blended with 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, resulting in a softer style of Cabernet Sauvignon with barely-there tannins. A fruit salad containing pomegranate seeds or cherries would add further dimension to the palate.
Susana Balbo 2008 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina ($25)
Containing a scant 5% Malbec, this Cabernet Sauvignon has traces of smoke against a full-bodied palate with black plum and black currant notes -- combined with herbal and spicy elements -- that lead into expressive tannins and some detection of oak. Very easy to drink, this would be a nice wine to open up the next time you grill meat outdoors.
Canyon's Edge Winery 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington ($24)
Concentrated, bright red-fruit notes (raspberries and cherries) lead into soft tannins that are laced with mocha. Light and approachable, this velvety Cab is perfect to drink during warm spring weather, even solo and without a food companion.
Seven Hills Winery 2007 Cabernet Sauvingon, Klipsun Vineyard, Red Mountain, Washington ($32)
An earthy, dusty bouquet slips into notes of cherries and black currants, coupled with continued earthiness, before a smoky, almost coffee-like layer enters the palate. Sip this Cab with your favorite spicy dish and you will love the wine even more.
Becker Vineyards 2007 "Iconoclast" Cabernet Sauvignon, Stonewall, Texas ($11)
Every time I sip a Becker Vineyards wine I can't help but recall the blooming lavender fields and the winery's adorable guesthouse set on an unassuming plot of land just outside of San Antonio. The Cabernet Sauvignon is equally approachable, with complex layers of dark, red fruit (black cherries) cascading into silky tannins. In honor of those lavender fields, sip this Cab with a dish containing fresh herbs to bring out its complexity.
Navarro Correas 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina ($13)
Of the Cabs tasted here, this was the heartiest, with tobacco and leather notes on the finish and flavors of black cherries, toasty oak and vanilla throughout, with some sage and white pepper too. Either braised beef or a salad heavy on fresh herbs would make a good pairing for this Cab.