Cantiga Wineworks2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, Pratt Vineyard
If you ever asked yourself, what ever happened to cassis in Cabernet Sauvignon then you might want to look closely at the way they are making wine at Cantiga Wineworks, a small operation up in the hills of El Dorado County.
The Rordan’s of Cantiga are iconoclasts of the first order, who, among other things, eschew malolactic fermentation with religious fervor. They’ve taken grapes off a well regarded vineyard at 26+° Brix and produced a Cabernet Sauvignon (with 4 percent Petite Sirah) which weighs in at a whopping 15.9 percent alcohol. Read the technicals and you know what to expect: a heavy weight fruit bomb cuddled in soft tannins and delivering a pretty damn hot finish. Wrong!
What you get is a medium bodied wine with complex aromatics and flavors (cassis, leather, tobacco, cedar…no plum jam here!) clarion-bright acidity (it’s all that malic acid!) and perfectly integrated (no heat!) alcohol, all promising to make this wine even better in ten years. Try it now alongside any age-peer Bordeaux Classified Growth and consider what a bargain you have at a mere $23. Better yet, forget the Bordeaux and get this wine on the dinner table, and lay down a case to watch my prophesy come true.
Reviewed April 21, 2008 by Roger Dial.
Under various hats (winegrower/maker/negotiant/writer) Roger Dial has been tasting wine professionally for 40 years. He regards varietal and regional diversity as the best virtues of wine, and is ever-suspicious of the quest (by producers and critics, alike) for “universal greatness”. His tasting regime is simple: Is the wine technically sound? Is it interesting? Warning: he’s a sucker for all aromatic varieties.