Low Key Cabernet (Hess 2007)

Hess Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (though I had the 2007)

I wasn’t looking for anything special last night.  I just wanted an easy glass of wine to go along with my ratatouille leftovers… I know, I’m so fancy.  Saw this bottle on the counter and basically said to myself, “As long as this wine is still good?  (as in, hasn’t turned to vinegar), I’ll be happy.”  The wine isn’t something I would have picked up on my own– nothing special about it- no fancy label (yes I pick wines that way… all the time), not an interesting varietal; ostensibly, the Hess Cabernet Sauvignon was just a red labeled Cabernet Sauvignon.   But it was surprisingly satisfying for my low key, movie night mood.

Wine: Hess Select
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2004
Alcohol: 13.5%
Rating: 84
Price Paid: $12.97 (well, technically $0, but I saw the pricetag)

This wine is actually a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 5% Syrah, not that it comes off that way.  I’ve mentioned before that I tend to find blends… a little bulky.  The flavors sometimes get in the way of one another instead of simply complimenting.  However, in this case, it was a smooth, velvetty ride of nice flavors.  When I opened the bottle, a lot of flavors wafted out– I could smell everything from dark, rich fruits– cherry, cranberry (slightly more tart smelling),– to richer texture flavors like oak and vanilla.  I call these “texture flavors” because these are the types of flavors that in my mind actually affect the depth of the taste.  Sometimes fruit tastes just wash over your tongue and lack any kind of noticeable finishing power– you just guess at a berry or two you might have tasted as the wine poured through your mouth.  But flavors  like Vanilla and oak actually stick around at the finish (in my humble opinion).  I find the same with many other spices- like pepper and nutmeg.  I think it’s why I like spicy wines.  This, however, I would not call a spicy wine, per se.  The vanilla “spice” is much more dull, BUT it lingers in the finish- giving the whole taste more balance than a simple fruit taste might.  The oak and the tannins boost the texture of the wine, too.  I actually really like the taste of oak– it’s a little bitter, but it allows your palate to taste around the wine and find the balance between what just tastes like fruit- and where the spices are.  The oak presents a balance and a means to compare and contrast the flavors of the wine.

Overall, I was completely satisfied.  I think the best pairing for this wine is simply any run of the mill dinner.  I’d skip it if you’re having spicy enchiladas loaded with spice because you won’t taste the wine at all, but in general? Soup, meats, salad?  I think ti would work with most of it.  My other opinion on the wine is actually that it might be a little over priced.  I wouldn’t personally spend more than $10 on this wine again, but if you’re looking for a simple bottle for the table over dinner or just while you’re cooking or relaxing, if this were on sale?  I’d suggest trying it.

JuliaUncorked says: 83/100.  Not bad!  Better if it were under $10.

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