Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
We're in the midst of another heat wave this week and like any sane person would, I developed a sudden and urgent craving for a skirt steak and Napa Cab. I mean, who doesn't want a belly full of meat and a big red wine when the heat index is 105? So, I set out in search of this weather contrary meal and whilst in a local wine shop my eyes landed on the Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon. Most of the selection of Napa Valley Cabernet were either too young for what I was craving, or too expensive. This was just right - a 2011 at $19.99. Sold.
I find the Napa Valley to be a fascinating climatic region *pushes glasses up nose*. It's located between two mountain ranges and the heat of the Central Valley, which lies to the east of Napa, pulls in fog from the ocean and through any breaks in the ranges in the morning. The cooling effect of the fog is essential because it allows the grapes to ripen slowly so that they can fully develop their varietal fruit character and retain their acidity. The resulting wines will have intense fruit flavors, soft tannins, and finesse. Some vineyards are planted in the hills and therefore do not benefit from the cooling effect of the morning fog that settles on the valley floor. These wines will be riper, showing darker fruit and firm tannins with high alcohol. Cool, right?
Later that evening, 2lbs of perfectly marinated skirt steak was searing in my oven and I was sticking my nose into a glass of Cabernet. It was everything I had hoped for. It had a really nice balance of black fruits and herbs and showed notes of black cherry, blackberry, blackcurrant, eucalyptus, black pepper, and a little campfire smoke, all grounded with a lovely toast note from oak aging. It was delicious and I'm going to look for this wine next time I'm on the prowl for a classic Napa Cab.
Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon 2011: $19.99. Thumbs up, try this if you see it!