Wine region / Country
Can Vich Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (2 bottles)
Girlan Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva Doss 2015 (2 bottles)
Francis Ford Coppola R & B Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £66.67
Club Discount Price: £56.81
You save: £9.86 (14.78%)
In this month's selection we've chosen it in an attempt to demonstrate its ability to adapt and its aromatic plurality. For this purpose, we've distanced ourselves from its native Bordeaux and gone for other areas with very differing characteristics in which the Cabernet expresses itself strongly and elegantly, but also with regional typicity. The Penedés, California and the Alto Adige will be our destinations.
Let's start with the Can Vich Cabernet Sauvignon, a family-produced, individual red made in the Alt Penedés, at 500 metres above sea level. There, maturation occurs slowly and the Cabernet has all the time it needs for ripening fully. Just 700 bottles of this magnificent Mediterranean red see the light of day each year, and therefore we feel very fortunate to be able to share them with you.
In another region with a Mediterranean climate, although far distant from those shores, grow the grapes used for producing the Francis Ford Coppola R & B Cabernet Sauvignon, a great Cabernet Sauvignon red which combines warm climate merits with the varietal's irreverent character. The nights are cool here too and enable the grape to accrue complexity during its slow maturation; if we add to this the wise use of oak shown by the North Americans and we'll attain a wine with a strong traditional character and perfect balance.
Returning to Europe, we'll stop over in the Alto Adige, in the north of Italy, close to the border with Austria. In this area, the varietal can already count on a long trajectory, thanks to its perfect adaptation to the cool mountain slopes and to the high minerality of the soils. The Girlan Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva Doss is elegant, as you would expect from a fine Italian wine, and very expressive and profound, just as a great Cabernet should be.
Penedés, California and the Alto Adige, always unique, always different, always Cabernet.
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Red Crianza. Celler Can Vich Penedès, Spain Cabernet Sauvignon
Bottle: £7.06 club members / £8.18 non-members
The Cabernet Sauvignon, along with the Parellada, is a variety which is harvested later. Owing to the altitude and the resultant slow maturation, the harvest is usually put off until October, although in warmer years it's brought forward to the end of September. In the early years it proved difficult to achieve a good maturity of the grapes, despite being planted on one of the estate's poorest soils and well-orientated to take advantage of the sun's rays. Over time, short and green pruning, and patience as regards picking the grapes have allowed perfect maturity to be reached. In the winery, Lluís Vich and his family are extremely careful with macerations to avoid extracting excessive tannins which may break the wine's organoleptic balance; thus, this process doesn't normally last beyond two weeks, with a daily manual pigeage. To the same end, they work without pumps in order to avoid the wine undergoing any aggressive movement and only employing used barrels so as not to make too much impact.
Knowing all these details it's easy to understand why this Cabernet doesn't show signs of inadequate ripening and, at the same time, maintains a fantastic acidity. It's rounded and complex, proudly Mediterranean, but not unbalanced or too alcoholic as a result. After medium density, denoting a restrained and well-contemplated production process, the wine presents aromas of red fruit, wild strawberries, enhanced by menthol and laurel touches. On the palate it's fluid and elegant, proving intense through the retronasal passage, with notes of fruit in liqueur and smoke. Its aftertaste is awash with fine oak and earthy hints.
The only trouble with this great Cabernet is its production run, limited to little more than 700 bottles.
Ossobuco / cured cheeses
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Red. Girlan Alto Adige, Italy Cabernet Sauvignon
Bottle: £10.52 club members / £12.84 non-members
Its grapes come in part from the cool Cornaiano slopes, located at an altitude ranging around 500 metres above sea level and with mineral-rich soils. The rest originate from Bassa Atesina, a sandy area with a warmer climate and deep soils. The combined merits of both these terroirs give rise to the very special character of the Girlan Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva Doss.
Including the actual harvest, all the work involved in producing this wine is thought out in such a way as to show maximum respect to the grape's natural elegance. The grapes are harvested by hand and placed into small crates to avoid too much pressure on the fruit, and its ageing of 18 months is undergone in both barrels and large wooden vats which better respect the fruit's primary nature. After a repose of almost half a year in bottle, it reaches our glasses appearing an elegant Picota cherry colour that seems to indicate its intensity, but also the reddish hues on the rim which denote a freshness unexpected in other Cabernets, but quite logical bearing in mind its provenance. Its nose is intensely balsamic and finely alcoholic; the freshness of Morello cherries combines with the spicy notes of mild pepper in an aromatic blend capable of enchanting everyone. In the background, orangery wafts appear, those orange peel hints so common in the best Montsant wines. Its tannins, initially intense, meld in after a couple of minutes in the glass, leaving behind an agreeable rugged touch that brings to mind powdered cocoa. The acidity comes to the fore as time passes and some restrained suggestions of bitterness enhance a memorable finish.
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Red Crianza. Francis Ford Coppola Winery California, United States Cabernet Sauvignon
Bottle: £10.82 club members / £12.32 non-members
The grapes for this Cabernet Sauvignon mainly grow in Lodi and Solano County, where the temperature contrasts between warm days and cool nights are considerable. This difference slows down the ripening process, allowing the grapes to gain in complexity and balance. The resultant wine is juicy and tannic, but also accessible. It has a spicy aroma with fresh herbaceous and balsamic hints. It's a dark colour, Picota cherry, and it has an unusually complex nose for a wine that intends being the winery's starter. It smells of cherries and black plums, liquorice, violets and toasty oak, tobacco leaf, stone powder... Its palate is mature, yet also fresh, juicy and with a touch of liqueur, nicely tensioned by a well-judged acidity and cloaked in the ruggedness of some perfect tannins. A fruity, spicy hint accompanies its long finish.
The Francis Ford Coppola R & B Cabernet Sauvignon roundly refutes all those who reject Californian wines for being too commercial or mature, showing there exists a California with its own character that has much to say in the wine world. Without a doubt Francis's forebears, the ones who sneaked around the family winery to steal and eat the grapes, would be very proud of the present-day wines made by the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.
Roasted pork / young goat's ribs coated in breadcrumbs / Gouda
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