I can take a cab, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to make a Cab. I get this question all the time: How come you don’t make a Cab? I don’t drink a lot of Cab. I used to drink a lot of Cab. I used to think that the more I paid for the wine, the better it must be. I used to like the idea of getting on a waiting list in the hope that someone died and when they did, I could get their allotment of sacred cabernet from sacred soil in Napa County that grows grapes which sell for $12,000 to even $20,000 per ton.
I like to think I grew up, but I know I never did, and likely never will. I did, however, evolve and open my mind to other things…like Grenache. I think it started after about my fifth trip to Napa, and maybe my first trip to Sonoma County. I felt a different attitude in Sonoma. It was more chicken wings and less foie gras. It’s o.k. to go to dinner in shorts and it’s o.k. to drink Cabernet Sauvignon, but it’s also o.k. to drink a lot of other things, like Zinfandel, or Rhone varietals.
So, no, I don’t make a Cab, and I don’t see myself making one any time soon. I recently consulted with a veteran wine industry public relations guy name Robert Larsen (www.thelarsenprojekt.com) about winemaking. He was adamant about not making a Cab or a Pinot. Why, I asked? Everybody buys them and everybody drinks them. His response was simple: “Everybody makes one that’s better and cheaper than you can make”. I know he’s right, but stubborn as I am, that’s still not why I don’t want to make either.
I want to make something I like. I want to make something different, something interesting and something that sets me apart from every other bottle of Cab or pinot around. And the movie, yes, I liked the movie, but Sideways simply oversaturated the pinot market and blew the prices of Pinot up to a point where I can’t seem to find a decent bottle for less than about $40. I highly recommend Kessler Haak (www.kesslerhaakwine.com) for local pinot. Dan is a super nice local guy. He is really dialed into the Santa Rita Hills wine community and grows and makes superb Pinot Noir that doesn’t break the bank.
Just talking about Cabs gets me a little worked up. I still have Cabs as old as ’97 in my wine cooler, and I don’t like old wine. There are BV’s, Insignia’s, David Arthur’s, Rodney Strong’s, Mayacamas’, Scarecrow’, and other notables, in 750 and a bunch or magnums. They are mostly from ’03 to ’06, interestingly just before the American real estate collapse. Maybe that’s when I stopped buying all that expensive stuff?
Every year I talk with my wine friends about scheduling an “Open That Bottle Night”. We talk about a fancy dinner and cracking some of those Cabs with people who really appreciate them. Every year seems to pass by without opening any of the big boys. I don’t think I need to contribute any further to the Cabernet glut on the market or in my cooler. So, if anyone knows where I can get a half ton of some really good Mourvedre grapes, please let me know.