My taste in wine was (and still is) very strongly influenced by my father. We both disdain sweet wines in favor of dry, bold, complex ones -- usually reds.* I grew up hearing my dad extol the unique virtues of Cabernet Sauvignon, and I have to say I agree with him. A good Cab is hard to beat, and when I'm shopping for a special red, I often find myself heading for the Cabernet aisle.
The Annabella 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet, from Michael Pozzan, is a recent bargain find. It runs around $12-$15 a bottle, and it's wonderful -- rich, bold, and slightly fruity without being syrupy. At this price it's hard to beat.
If you're going for a major splurge, on the other hand ... allow me to suggest the best Cab I've ever had. Introducing: the 2004 Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet.
At $65 a bottle, this is by far the most expensive wine I've ever purchased -- and I didn't even buy it for myself! I tried it while wine-tasting with friends in Napa several years ago, and knew immediately that it was something special. A couple of months later, as my brother and I combed the wine store looking for something to give our dad for Christmas, we happened upon this. I jumped for joy and insisted that this was the one we should get him.
In January, I asked my dad how he'd liked the wine. Now, my dad has never been shy about telling us that the wines we give him are "just OK" when he doesn't like them. But this time, his eyes widened with remembered bliss. "That was probably the best wine I've ever had. It was absolutely amazing." At last! Success! We had finally managed to get something that my dad not only liked, but loved.
Despite my fondness for this wine, I've never splurged on a bottle for myself -- $65 is a bit hard to justify on our budget. But I think when I finish my PhD, I'll track down a bottle of Cakebread Cabernet to celebrate my triumph. It's that special.
* My brother, on the other hand, has somehow developed a taste for ultra-sweet Rieslings. We're not sure where we went wrong.