I had an odd epiphany tonight. Danielle and I went to see the film 'Argo', and I enjoyed it immensely. Even though I knew how the movie would turn out, I was still riveted by the tale of the great escape of the 6 American Embassy employees during the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-80. This was solid film making by Ben Affleck and company. The story was suspenseful, the characters nuanced, the pacing was perfect and the attention to detail was omnipresent. So even though the film had a lot of hype to live up to, it was masterfully executed. I was literally cheering, tears welling up in my eyes when the credits were rolling.
Wine can certainly be compared to cinema. A well-crafted wine tells a story. It has a distinct exposition (the nose), main characters (primary flavors) story arc (flavor profile) and denouement (finish). Like watching an impactful movie, drinking a great wine can be a deeply moving, very personal experience.
West coast Cabernet Sauvignon is the darling of new world wine critics and consumers alike. If Cab is a movie genre, then it screams 'Summer Blockbuster'.
In its more gaudy incarnations, it gets huge scores from certain critics, and is expensive, extracted, fruity, oaky, huge bodied, and about as subtle as the explosions in an Arnold Schwarzenegger film.
At it's best; a properly vinified Cabernet is a nuanced, earthy, lush, enriching experience. Apex Ascent Cabernet 2009 is just this type of wine. It tells a story of respect for good wine making, painstaking attention to detail, and the gorgeous Columbia Valley where it's from.
It starts with the aroma of black fruits, with an entrancing hint of vanilla on the nose. Upon the first sip, the palate is graced with velvety black plums and currants, which showcases this wine's star: the Cabernet Sauvignon grape.
Like Ben Affleck, this star is at it's best when it doesn't go over the top. It works best when it integrates its co-stars, the Malbec which is blended in to add smoothness and hints of tobacco, and the Petit Verdot, to reinforce the structure.
The oak, like the love interest, amplifies the good qualities of the wine, namely the minerality, and the fruit, but doesn't hijack the picture, when used correctly.
The finish is long, velvety, and supremely satisfying, and stays with you for a long time.
For $19.99 you can enjoy this masterwork, and still have some money left over to watch a good movie.