Monday, May 30, 2011


Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the nice things about being someone who is visibly interested in wine is the fact that friends and family never have to think too hard about what to give me on gift-giving occasions.  Hint: it's a one-word answer.

My birthday triggered a very nice influx of bottles, so the wine rack at chez Now And Zin is full and happy.  The first cork to pop from the birthday bounty was a very nice California Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendocino County.

Bonterra Winery is in Hopland, California.  They farm organically, and have done so since 1987.  All the fruit used in making this wine is organic; 81% of it comes from Mendocino County with 19% contributed by Lake County.

Winemaker Robert Blue states on the label his affinity for organic farming and his belief that it produces the highest quality grapes.  Bonterra Winery and their grapes are certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers.  That label on the bottle is even made from 100% post-consumer recycled product.

The Bonterra Cab carries a 13.5% abv number.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with Merlot, Syrah and what Bonterra calls "other complementary varietals."  I don’t know why they are so secretive about it, though.  The wine is a medium-dark ruby color in the glass, and it offers a huge fruit expression on the nose.  Cherries make the big play, with plenty of spiciness.  I pick up the scent of white pepper and a layer of vanilla and cedar.

The alcohol shows too much in the first sip, about 15 minutes after the bottle was opened.  Cherries, cherry cola and a raspberry note struggle to come forward through the haze.

Give it some time, and it settles down nicely.  Eventually it becomes as smooth as silk.  Over time, brambly notes and some graphite show up to augment the plum and blackberry flavors.  Firm tannins are present even on the third night the bottle is open, and the black cherry cola finish stays a long time.

Bonterra has crafted a delicious wine that's downright affordable to buy - or to give as a gift.

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