Welcome to Good Wine You Can Actually Find. Starting this week, every Thursday VinePair will review a bottle of wine we think you need to know about. When we first considered launching this column, the one piece of feedback we received from you, our readers, was that the most frustrating aspect of wine reviews is the inability to find the wine reviewed. That’s why this column is a bit different; while we love wine from small wineries with limited production, we are going to try our best in these Thursday columns to review wine that is either widely available nationally or that can be purchased from an online retailer. That way, you can actually try the wine we’ve enjoyed.
Sometimes all you need is a tasty and easy drinking Cabernet Sauvignon to take the edge off the day. I was in this exact situation earlier this week when I came across a $14.99 bottle of 2012 Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. I had been traveling all day and had finally arrived at my hotel tired and worn out. Here I was, at a hotel located in a strip mall in South Florida with no bars or restaurants around or open in order for me to grab a quick drink so I could decompress. All I wanted was a glass of wine – so did my family who was traveling with me.
Luckily, there was a store in the same strip mall that happened to have a small selection of wine, so I ran over to grab a bottle. There wasn’t a huge selection, but the bottle I was looking for didn’t have to stand up to a 12 course tasting menu. I was just looking for a wine to sip while catching up with family and remembering my grandmother, the reason we had all made the last minute Florida trip. That’s one of the things I love about wine, that every bottle doesn’t have to fit every occasion. There are some wines that are perfect for that fancy date night meal, and others that are great for just kicking back and watching a little TV. I was hoping Josh Cellars was the later.
When I got back to the hotel room, my parents and brother were gathered in the sitting area and I opened the bottle. It had a wonderful aroma of black cherry and vanilla – it was definitely a rich California style Cabernet – and I immediately knew it was going to go great with those Chipotle Burritos – the only other place near the hotel that was still serving food – that we had also brought back.
The wine was a dark maroon when poured into the glass, and my dad commented on how smooth and luscious the mouthfeel was. He also referred to it as being quite juicy, which it definitely was. There were tons of berry flavors present, especially strawberry, and there was also a nice little bit of spice. Being a California Cabernet, the wine didn’t have the strong Tannins a Cabernet from France often has, which meant it didn’t need food to be eaten with it in order to be enjoyed, though it was delicious with the burritos – the soft Tannins also meant our mouths weren’t excessively dried out after each sip.
We poured the wine in glasses, ate our burritos, and sat around talking about my grandmother. The wine flowed easily and it helped loosen the conversation while we reminisced about her life and the incredible impact she had on others. It was the perfect bottle for this occasion, just sitting around, talking about life. The wine didn’t get in the way, it didn’t try to say, I am a show stopper, talk about me – which is often what a lot of wine, especially Cabernets, can do. It just quietly sat in our glasses helping to lubricate the conversation. The perfect wine for relaxing with family and friends after a long day.