Kudos with a Cab

A couple of months ago, gal pal co-workers bestowed a funky bottle of wine upon hers truly.  This precious little gift served as kudos for a job well done after a grueling project I had been tasked with.   I try to make a point of not writing about work, but these fine ladies and I are employed by a rapidly growing company that keeps us hopping every minute.  Each day is full of new challenges (and rewards) which test both our talents and patience.  Add planning a big event and well, it can become a bit overwhelming! My benefactors do an amazing job in their own right making their offering even more humbling.   They are fully aware of my spirited personality (yes, I’m a handful) and my cheap wine fetish, so choosing a “special something” I would enjoy wasn’t terribly difficult.  True to form, they were right on the money with their selection!   From the quirky skeleton admiral on the label (and no it’s not a Paso Robles) to the fun ribbon and card, I was excited to give it a go.  Given the spooky theme, I’ve been trying to wait until Halloween to uncork this baby, but thought, “Why wait a couple extra days when October has already started?”    And, I might be a little impatient.  Nah.

Okay, virtuous I’m not, but I adore the upcoming wicked holiday and decanting this lovely little bottle of “spirits” made for a great excuse to drag out at least one Halloween decoration. Benefactor Cellars 2010 SE Australia Cabernet Sauvingnon is produced by an outfit called International Wine Negociants.  According to Wikipedia (the leading source for all accurate information) a négociant is: “the French term for a wine merchant who assembles the produce of smaller growers and winemakers and sells the result under its own name.[1]

Négociants buy everything from grapes to grape must to wines in various states of completion. In the case of grapes or must, the négociant performs virtually all the winemaking. If it buys already fermented wine in barrels or ‘en-vrac’—basically in bulk containers, it may age the wine further, blend in other wines or simply bottle and sell it as is. The result is sold under the name of the négociant, not the name of the original grape or wine producer.”   So, basically it’s a hodgepodge of grapes, growers, winemakers and distributors making sure cheap wine fans like the wine slobs never run out of affordable vino. And that’s fine by us. After a little research, I believe this bottle was probably purchased at Trader Joe’s for around $5.00.  Of course I could verify my findings, but asking the cost of a gift is in poor taste, which ironically I seem to have a lot of.   Never mind my shortcomings, because frankly I don’t have the time to list them all and you, dear readers, are spending precious moments to read about wine.  So, on with it!

My better half (far better half) uncorked this bottle after dinner. Now, if you have been following our little blog we have mentioned using an aerator on several occasions.  This is one of those occasions.  Benefactor Cellars 2010 SE Australia Cabernet Sauvingnon is a young red wine barely out of the crib. You wouldn’t expect an infant just learning to crawl to run a marathon would you?    This is why you must aerate!  Because this wine has a high tannin concentration, it was a little bitter fresh out of the bottle, but once it had a little time to breathe the aroma and flavor mellowed.  When discussing wine, the term “tannins” always seems to be thrown around, which may leave you asking the burning the question of the day, “What the heck are tannins!?”   Simply put, tannins are a naturally occurring preservative in wine.  The riper the grape usually means the lower the tannin.  Tannins are fairly easy to discern.  Do you ever get that dry and fury feeling in your mouth after drinking wine?  It’s all about tannins. The lower the tannin, the softer the taste.  Often, wines with a lot of tannins are paired with red meat.   This helps balance the astringency of the tannins.  It is all highly complicated and scientific of which I am not, so if you want to delve further into the mystery of tannins, be my guest. If you run across something you’d like to add please put it in the comment section.  We are always eager to learn more about wine! 

Outside of being a little bitter, this wine is quite tart from start to finish. It has notes of cherries and strawberries with a peppery finish.   It is a middle of the road, burgers on the grill kind of wine that’s alright for sipping.  Just don’t expect this youngin’ to win any gold medals at this age.   We finished the bottle and savored the spirit for which it was given.  To my gal pals who work hard for the money, we give thanks for prodding us onward and upward to yet another wine tasting adventure. You help the workday and the liquor go quicker! Thanks ladies!

Aromatique: Strong after uncorking.  Intense cherry scent.
SipQuips: Quite tart and peppery all the way through. After time to breathe flavorful strawberry and ripe cherry flavors come forth.
Kitchen Couplings: Goat cheese and crackers, grilled red meat, spicy mexican or italian food.

This one’s for the girls…

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