Americans know this about wine: Napa Valley makes cabernet Sauvignon.
They know it so well, that many Americans assume that all cabernet sauvignon originates from Napa Valley. Paul Draper, who is the long-standing head of Ridge Vineyards and makes Monte Bello, the most famous American cabernet sauvignon, once joked that people were surprised that Monte Bello wasn’t from Napa. It is from the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Actually, a lot of California cabernet sauvignons don’t come from Napa Valley. Many supermarket cabernets are from the Central Valley, an area where industrialized farming has been scaled-up to produce wine at a very low cost. There are better cabernets from other parts of the state. According to the United States Agriculture Department (USAD), Napa has only 22,000 acres of the approximately 95,000 acres of California cabernet.
That’s a sizable percentage, but it means an awful lot of cabernet is farmed elsewhere, including almost 13,000 acres in Sonoma.
This month, we’re going to try three cabernet sauvignons from outside of Napa Valley. These are the three bottles that I recommend:
BroadsidePaso Robles Margarita Wine Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 $18
CampCabernet Sauvignon 2019 Sonoma County $22
Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 $51
The Camp and Broadside are two of the bottles that are quite affordable. They are meant to be enjoyed young and easygoing. Domaine Eden, a wine from the historic Mount Eden Vineyards, can be a little more expensive, but it is still very serious.
If you are able to afford it, I recommend you try the Eden with the others to get a better understanding of a bottle that is more age-worthy.
These producers should not be difficult to locate. Other options that are affordable include Foxglove in Paso Robles, Ground Effect in Santa Barbara, and Bedrock in Sonoma County.
Of course, if you don’t mind spending a little more money don’t hesitate to select from myriad producers in Sonoma, the Santa Cruz Mountains and other California regions beyond Napa.
I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but that’s what I’m going to cook with these wines, whether steaks, lamb or burgers. But I’m not doctrinaire. I’d drink these wines with a roast chicken, with pork chops, with the Thanksgiving turkey. If you’re not a meat eater, these might go well with hearty mushroom dishes.
I’ll issue my usual reminder. It’s often said that red wines should be consumed at room temperature, but which room? This was probably a statement made by someone who lived in a drafty house that was always cold. It is better to think about cellar temperature, which means slightly cooler.
Source: NY Times