Tag Archives: journal wine club

Sonoma County 2009 William Knuttel Cabernet Sauvignon

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Sonoma County 2009 William Knuttel Cabernet Sauvignon

Today’s wine comes to us via The Wall Street Journal Wine Club. It is priced at $20.00 per bottle or $238.00 for the case through the club. I am surprised a bigger discount is not offered but this may be fodder for a future post….

William Knuttel is renowned for his work as winemaker for premium California wineries such as Chalk Hill, Dry Creek and Saintsbury. He was also President of the Cabernet Wine Society from 1999-2003. All this before branching out with his own namesake product line.

This particular Cabernet spent two years in french oak barrels prior to its release. It is unfiltered, a factor I tend to appreciate in my wines but could understand where others could feel differently.

Upon decanting I noted strong wood [cedar] on the nose along with tobacco. Fruit detected was slight; dark fruit possibly opening to red fruits as it immediately began to breathe.

At tasting I was pleasantly surprised by the strong red fruit taste [strawberry, red cherry]. The heavy wood on the nose took somewhat of a backseat to the fruit on what I would describe as a dry, tannic heavy wine with a lengthy acidic finish. The experience and my purple tongue reminded me of a Bordeaux before opening completely. The WSJ website suggests decanting for an hour prior to serving but as my notes below suggest; 2 hours would not be an exaggeration.

Additional notes:

@ 30 minutes – Nose softened but wood still overtly in existence, fruit opening but reservedly so.

@ 60-90 minutes – Notable softening on nose and palate; tasty.

@ 2 hours – Jammy.

I am so glad that I was able to continue recording my notes throughout the night. It was truly amazing to see this wine come to life and change in ways that sometimes just doesn’t happen with a wine although I also have to admit we do not usually sit down for a 2-3 hour wine experience at home. Huh, maybe we should 🙂 . This wine was delicious from start to finish but SMOOTH at over 2 hours. If I would not have lasted to this point it would have been my loss and I would have written off this wine as good but overly woody [barreled too long?]. Having made it though I must admit that I would buy and better yet experience this wine again. Note to self; Decant! Enjoy long suppers! Stop and smell the wine grapes! ¡SALUD!

Vendor notes: We’d suggest you decant an hour prior to serving to allow those complex flavors time to breathe.

Deep ruby. Aromas of black cherry, cedar and blackberries with hints of red licorice and classic cigar box. Fine-grained tannins, smooth finish — dominated by dried cherry, cassis and vanilla.

Battle of the Carmenere’s, Don Manuel 2009 vs. Anakena 2010

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Carménère grapes. Cropped from Image:Blue grap...

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Battle of the Carmenere’s, Don Manuel 2009 vs. Anakena 2010

As you may have read in previous blogs, Carmenere was one of my favorite discoveries last year. I have since been spreading the gospel of this signature Chilean, albeit originally Bordeaux, varietal ever since.

Luckily for my friends, okay only the friends that actually listen to the ravings of this wine lover, they have discovered and become enamored by this grape too.

This leads us to last weeks Sunday supper. On the menu was homemade tomato basil soup. Researching what wine to serve I repeatedly came across Merlot as one of the options. This reminded me of the fact that Carmenere, thought to be extinct for years, was discovered in Chile during the 1990’s inadvertently being grown as Merlot. Dilemma solved! If experts thought Chile’s Carmenere was Merlot I sure could exchange them at our wine novice dinner. So the BATTLE OF THE CARMENERE’s came to be. The 2009 Don Manuel was received from the Wall Street Journal Wine Club priced at about $16.00 and the 2010 Anakena was purchased through our local Total Wines & More for only $7.99 after having read two favorable articles from two different sources coincidentally about the same wine.

Winemakers comments:

2010 Anakena: This single vineyard Carmenere is busting with black fruit, black pepper and tobacco. Intense flavours and velvety tannins make this an exceptional wine. Delicious with lamb and white meats, filled pasta and cheeses.

2009 Don Manuel: Few do this juicy red justice like top estate Viña La Rosa, where star Gonzalo Carcamo is chief winemaker. His rich, single-vineyard selection pays tribute to long-time local hero, winery founder Don Manuel. Part civil engineer, part winemaker, Don Manuel helped build roads, bridges and other infrastructure in Chile. He started Viña La Rosa in the early 1800s, and today it’s one of the country’s oldest, greatest estates.

I have to admit that I found having two samples of the same grape varietal side by side to be very educational. It made me realize that in our wine classes we are usually tasting different varietals from the same region and not comparing apples with apples or better said grapes with grapes. It was very interesting to note how similar yet different each one was. They basically both had the same base per se but the delicate features of the wine was different for each.

Don Manuel; strong, deep dark fruit tastes, enjoyably rich with strong tight flavors even after decanting for over an hour. Anakema; was softer and more gentle on the palette. We noted different levels of the following on both: raw peppers, grass, earthy, coffee, medium to soft tannins, and leather.

Both of these wines were a hit. The general consensus developed was that the DON MANUEL was more of a lets sit a spell and sip wine where the ANAKENA would go down smoothly and quickly, what I would call a Guzzler. This distinction between the two may have something to do with the difference in vintages.  All said and done, our verdict since there should be one, is that in today’s economy $7.99 sounds a lot better than $16.00!
¡SALUD!

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