Cabernet Sauvignon

Review: 2012 Fratelli Perata Cabernet Sauvignon

Tomatoes! I don’t think I’ve ever had wine with a deep, roasted tomato taste, but the 2012 Fratelli Perata Cabernet Suvignon does. And it’s yummy. Not a weird tomato taste, but it’s an almost Earthy quality that makes this wine pair well with spaghetti and meatballs!

I picked up this unfiltered wine on a trip to Paso Robles. A fellow wine lover had recommended it while I was visiting Midnight Cellars with my husband. “If you like Italian wines,” he said, “go there, now!” So we did. The wine tasting room was very small and a few old timers were already there drinking at the bar. This is a very quaint winery that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles like many others now. If you want cheese plates and corn hole, this wine tasting room isn’t for you.

But the big-flavored reds were satisfying. This cab was well-rounded with intense fruit and that’s why I bought it. I will say the label advises to decant for an hour and I would highly recommend doing so. Otherwise, you’re going to get an alcoholic burn that masks the majesty of this drinking Cab. Even after decanting though, you can still expect this wine to have a tart dryness from the tannins.

Nuts & Bolts:

Winery: Fratelli Perata
Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origin: Paso Robles
Vintage: 2012
Price: $36
Alcohol content: 13.6%
When to drink: Put some steak rubbed with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper on the BBQ and then indulge. (Remember to give it plenty of time to breathe first).

Review: 2013 Ecluse Cabernet Sauvignon

When I went up to Paso Robles last, my goal was to find a new wine club. I had been a wine club member at a Temecula Winery for about two years, but was itching for something new. Over the weekend, I visited about seven wineries and was about to give up. Then at our last stop on Sunday before we headed back, another winery owner suggested we try Ecluse up the road.

Ecluse is on the westside of Paso Robles. It’s an unpretentious winery with a steel shed tasting room where they let you taste wine straight from the barrel, an experience I highly recommend. After our tasting, my husband and I were sold; we became winery members right then and took home a dozen bottles.

Got to barrel-taste the 14 Improv from @eclusewines this weekend. It's gonna be sooo good

A photo posted by Wine For The Win (@wineforthewin) on

This week we drank the 2013 Ecluse Cabernet Sauvignon. It smelled delicious and tasted like candy! No, no, it’s not like a sugary-gives-your-teeth-cavities candy, but a delicious dark licorice that you savor. The wine weighs heavy on your tongue, burrowing deep with its full-mouth feel.


The dark purple liquid had a short-lived and somewhat bitter aftertaste, but that went away with time. I think the burn could be attributed to the high alcohol level of 14.9%. The wine, which also had a coffee flavor that complimented our steak dinner, needed some air. I bet if we drank this wine in 2017 rather than a few days ago it would have calmed down a bit more. Only 240 barrels of this award-winning wine were made.

Nuts & Bolts:

Winery: Ecluse Wines
Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origin: Paso Robles
Vintage: 2013
Price: $40, Club $32
Alcohol content: 14.9%
When to drink: This wine is perfect for philosophical discussions.

Review: 2012 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon

This Napa Valley wine was a welcome treat after several mishaps at a hotel I was staying at in New York for work. The Dream Downtown left the half-bottle in my room after my heater broke twice and a drunk man pounded on my door at 5 a.m.

This red tickles your tongue and leaves behind a longlasting warm feeling. It’s chock full of dark cherry flavor and has soft tannins.


Also a plus: The winery is solar-powered.

Nuts and Bolts

Winery: Honig
Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origin: Napa
Price: Unknown
Alcohol content: 14.5%
When to drink: Wrap yourself in a quilt and get cozy when you sip on the 2012 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon.

Review: 2012 Presswork Cabernet Sauvignon

A very talented friend of mine invited me to read his latest slasher screenplay. Slasher and good time aren’t what I’d usually pair together in a sentence, but I knew this would be fun because wine would be involved and I can handle gore on the page, even if I can’t on the screen.

Before we cracked open the script on our tablets and phones, looking like a horde of millennials with glowing faces, we popped open some wine, one of which was the 2012 Presswork Cabernet Sauvignon.


This medium-bodied cab seemed appropriate on its face: The label has a typewriter, which may have been why it was purchased by a clever reader, but I never found out who brought the bottle to do some questioning.

The Australian wine is warm, but that warm transitions from pleasant to an alcoholic burn. Points off for that, but that dissipates the more you sip and it’s drinkable, with a pinch of violet. It has pucker, for sure, even though the bottle describes it as having soft tannins. It’s berrylicious and fruit forward. Despite that, however, it felt watered down.

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Presswork
  • Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Origin: Australia
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $10 (at Trader Joe’s)
  • Alcohol content: 14.3%
  • When to drink: I probably wouldn’t buy this Cab again, but the wine had enough redeeming qualities that I’d try other varietals from Presswork. Maybe the Shiraz? Review inspiration…

Review: 2013 Douglas Green Cabernet Sauvignon

It’s warm, it’s fruity, it’s spicy–everything you want in a cheap cab.

The 2013 Douglas Green Cabernet Sauvignon has lingering flavors of what is that, raisin? I was pleased with the smoothness of the wine, which I sipped at a pre-concert picnic with some friends.

IMG_20140802_193054 (2)

For the price, I’d buy it again.

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Douglas Green
  • Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Origin: South Africa
  • Vintage: 2013
  • Price: $10
  • Alcohol content: 14%
  • When to drink: Make some peppercorn steak, invite a few friends over, play some Bananagrams and drink a bottle of this smooth baby.

Review: 2012 Pacific Redwood Organic Cabernet Sauvignon

When I left my old job recently to start a new adventure, a wine-loving friend gave me a bottle of the 2012 Pacific Redwood Organic Cabernet Sauvignon with this premise: It was the best organic wine that he’s ever had.

I was a little skeptical of organic wine, admittedly, and was also skeptical of wine from Redwood Valley with a bunch of trees on the label–all very superficial concerns, I know.

The wine was tart on the intake–perhaps my fault for not letting breathe, I can be a bit impatient–but then the Cab sweetened up a bit, leaving me thinking, eh. By the finish, I experienced a little kick of spice.


This is definitely some fruit-forward business that was kind of vanilla-y all wrapped up in some round tannins.

The bottle explains that this wine “contains only naturally occurring sulfates.” Sulates are preservatives, so important to keep wine fresh, especially whites. However, I am technically allergic to sulfates. But I love wine. I know, it’s a conundrum. Basically I get a very flush face and neck when I drink wine. I don’t notice it as much as my drinking partner, so that’s a plus. I did notice that I didn’t get as flush from drinking this wine, real effects or placebo, perhaps?

The label also notes that the wine is vegan. That got me thinking, which wine isn’t?! That subject to be tackled in a future blog post. Have some guidance for me? Tell me in the comments?

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Pacific Redwood
  • Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Origin: Redwood Valley
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: gifted; $10 on
  • Alcohol content: 12.8%
  • When to drink: With all your hippie vegan friends while camping

The Original Wine Snob

While working through my pile of New Yorker magazines, I came across a lovely little cartoon. The first thing I thought was this guy is the original wine snob.


Do you have any favorite wine cartoons? I want to see them!

Review: 2007 Oberon Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

When you bring a 1.5L bottle of wine to a party, you sure turn heads.

I was heading to Echo Park Hills last weekend for a party in a gorgeous California abode with a luxurious view of downtown Los Angeles and decided to bring along the 1.5L bottle I won from the Oberon Wines video competition. 

I was hoping to save the wine for a quaint dinner party at my place, but it was so hot in Los Angeles last week, that the cork started to shimmy its way out of the bottle on its own. The wine was basically screaming “Drink me tonight!” And I acquiesced.

Toting it with me to the party, sure got guests’ attention. It’s a big bottle and people were surprised to see it, especially because it was autographed by the winemaker himself, Tony Coltrin.


Rather than over fancy dinner conversation, I sipped this Cabernet Sauvignon in a red solo cup while playing drunk Jenga. Yes, I consistently pulled the “beer wench” block, to my dismay, but unlike the another unlucky soul, I did not have to put my “head on table” for three minutes.

I wish I had this wine under different circumstances. I’m not sure if it was the heat or the fact that the cork had slid out a bit before I fully opened it hours later, letting some air in, but by the time I got to drink it, the wine seemed to have gone flat.

It was thin and had a faint berry taste, but it was heavy on the ashtray. By that, I mean it had a strong taste of tobacco. The wine had a bit of an alcoholic burn at the beginning, but that quickly went away after the first glass.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Oberon Wines
  • Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Origin: Napa Valley
  • Vintage: 2007
  • Price: I won it!
  • Alcohol content: Unknown
  • When to drink: I can tell you when not to drink it: at a house party serving Kirkland beer and Tito’s vodka. Different vibe, different time preferred.



Review: 2012 Stateland Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

When you drink this berrylicious Cabernet Sauvignon, your mouth will water. The blackberry aroma and soft tannins of this easy-to-drink Cab can be quite persuasive.


However, this Central Coast red can be a bit leathery at times, lying heavy on the tongue, coating it as if it were leaving behind a prime layer of paint. It can have a bump in the finish, but that dissipates the longer it breathes.

Use the leftovers, if you have any, as a steak marinade. I did this with Tri-tip, salt, pepper, cumin and garlic and loved the berry/ savory results.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Stateland Cellars
  • Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Origin: Paso Robles
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $19, purchased at Bevmo 5 cent wine sale, so I got two for one, basically
  • Alcohol content: 13.7%
  • When to drink: Bring this to a dinner party. The classic label makes it look more expensive that it is and the balanced, fruity Cab will be a crowd-pleaser.

I won a 1.5L bottle of Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon

And now I have one in my possession, thanks to Oberon Wines. I entered a video contest to win a free trip to Napa through the Mondavi family label, but I didn’t win. I was told it was a close call, but they probably just tell that to everyone.

To lift my spirits though, I received a very large, tall package on my doorstep this weekend. Inside was a 1.5L bottle of a 2007 Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon autographed by winemaker Tony Coltrin and a $50 Visa gift card. Now that’s what I call a consolation prize 🙂


I see a dinner at Fritto Misto where you can BYO in my future soon, or perhaps a dinner party in the making.