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WINE CLUB Varietal of the Month: Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Cyrus, Alexander Valley VineyardsCabernet Sauvignon is the most produced red wine in all of the major wine regions. DNA testing of the grape shows that it originated in the 1600s as a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

In France where the Cabernet Sauvignon grape originated, they are sometimes call Bordeaux wine. The most Cabernet grapes per acre are grown in France, then Chile, the United States, Australia, Italy, South Africa and Argentina – totaling over 650,000 acres worldwide.

Cabernet is a full-bodied wine with a flavor profile of cherries, vanilla, licorice and tobacco. Old-World Cabernet from the Bordeaux region is more subtle and light with strong tannins and acidity, while New-World Cabernet wines have more prominent fruit flavors and a higher alcohol content. It is aged from 9 months to 2 years or more in French or American oak.

Cabernet Sauvignon is also used quite often in red blends and mixed with other grape varieties. In fact, many Cabernet Sauvignon wines that are made in America contain up to 25% of another grape. The other grapes are chosen by the winemaker to add flavor or to give the wine better value. Typically, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes cost more to produce than Merlot and other red varieties.

Featured Wine: 2012 Cyrus, Alexander Valley Vineyards
This wine is a tribute to Cyrus Alexander, who in 1840 settled the 600-acre property where the Alexander Valley Vineyards are now planted. Produced since 1995, the Cyrus Cabernet Sauvignon is made to represent this great man, the region and the vineyard’s best grapes.

The 2012 vintage is the 17th release of Cyrus. Made from seven lots of estate Bordeaux grapes, three lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, two lots of Merlot and one lot each of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes have exceptional dark fruit flavors with complex aromas and structured tannins. The Merlot grapes are filled with juicy fruit and floral aromatics, and the Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec bring finesse, inky color, bright acidity and depth.

2012 was a growing season with ideal weather: brisk foggy mornings, sunny and warm afternoons and cool evenings. After each variety of grapes was harvested, they were aged separately for 12 months, and then blended and aged again for another 12 months in French oak. Additional bottle-aging was also required.

“This vintage has a dark purple color and intense earthy aromas of cassis, black cherry, chocolate and cherry, along with toasty oak and vanilla. This is a silky wine with flavors of cassis, dark chocolate, dark fruits and chocolate-covered cherries. The 2012 CYRUS boasts smooth texture, excellent balance and a long structured finish.”
From Alexander Valley Vineyards

Food Pairings: steak, lamb, prime rib, strong cheeses like Stilton, aged sharp cheddar.

Tenderloin Steaks with Cabernet MushroomsTenderloin Steaks with Cabernet Mushrooms

2 Certified Angus® Beef tenderloin steaks
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 Tbs butter, divided
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Cabernet wine
1/4 cup beef broth
1 Tbs fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Grill steaks to desired doneness. To make the sauce, add 2 tablespoons butter and the olive oil to a sauté pan over high heat. When pan is hot, add mushrooms in a single layer. Lower heat; let mushrooms cook without stirring for 1 minute. Stir mushrooms with a wooden spoon, and continue to sauté until golden and cooked through. Time will vary depending on the thickness of the slices, approximately 2 more minutes. Add the wine to deglaze, and then add the broth and thyme leaves. Bring liquid to a simmer; let it reduce by half. Turn off heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and stir to combine. Add the salt and pepper. Serve the mushrooms over the steaks or on the side.

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Posted in: Beer & Wine, Recipes