Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon (A 2009 “Michael David Joint”)



And these guys do Petite Petit, which has elephants playing poker on the label, so. What I’m saying is that they’ve set the bar for kickass label pretty high.

They’ve set the bar for lots of asskicking pretty high, honestly, or maybe I just love them because I love the wavelength they’re on: any winery what decides it’s a good idea to create a Zinfandel for each deadly sin is a winery I’m going to love on geek level alone. That the wines are, by pretty much any measure, REALLY GOOD, just adds to the pot.

Anyway, this isn’t a Zin. It’s a Cab. It’s still really good. Read on:

Region: Lodi, CA
Grapes involved: Cab Sauv with a tiny bit of Petite Sirah thrown in because, well, why not. Also it’s pretty.
Cost: $18-ish
Food pairings: We had it with flat iron steak with a chimichurri sauce and some chard sauteed with garlic. That worked. A kickass burger would work pretty well too. So would chocolate. Or oatmeal raisin cookies, which I had for dessert and which were also randomly awesome with the wine.

The wine smells like cherry compote (minus the sugar – think warm, saucy, tart cherries) and berries (mostly raspberry and cranberry) with bits of clove and anise. Drinking it, it goes into tart cranberries and lots of earthen sorts of tones, with gobs of vanilla and oak running through. There are a few hints of fennel and something fun and herbal – I keep returning to sage – as well. The finish is long and tart and dry and wonderful. The tannins are fairly grippy* at first, but soften after a while.

And it’s pretty much awesome, and it pretty much lives up to the label. Like, I’d sum up more, but I want to go back to drinking it.


*”Grippy” is one of those words to describe wines/tannins that used to make me insane (like, what kind of a douchebag says that sort of thing?**”), but which I’ve decided I kind of like now that I’ve had enough wine to really get what it means. Basically, it’s the sort of tannin structure that really glues your tongue to your teeth or the roof of your mouth. For me, anyway, a “grippy” sort of tannin structure would be the kind of thing that feels like scratchy glue, but not unpleasantly so. To contrast it, a California Syrah would be silken, with no real scratching at all, and a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir would feel like sandpaper – all scratch with no stick. So “grippy” is somewhere in there, just a bit stickier than anything I’ve just thrown out.

**apparently me.


2009 B Side Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

This. You want this bottle (or I, at least, want more of them):

Region: Napa Valley
Grapes involved:
90% Cab Sauv, 10% Malbec
Cost: $20ish
Food pairings: It’s a Napa Cab, so think “steak wine!” and go nuts on whatever variation of that theme suits your tastes. I actually had it with a hunk of Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar (like, so sharp that it was flaking) on some wheat crackers and was a happy, happy girl. In a few hours, I will finish the bottle with a giant hamburger topped with the same cheddar, bacon, caramelized onion and brown mustard, and I will be an even happier girl.
Rating: 92 points, Wine Enthusiast

Here’s the wine itself:

This glass of wine produces all kinds of scents: black cherry, black currant, violet, rubber, spun sugar, vanilla and oak, orchid, and lots and lots of earth. It’s really fun (to me, because I’m really nerdy like that) to stick one’s nose in the glass and huff like it’s some sort of illegal substance. I rarely have this much fun smelling any wine that isn’t Pinot Noir (because they smell crazy, like an amalgamation of everything I’ve ever smelled in 31 years of life).

The wine’s flavors are mostly in the blackcurrant arena with some cherries and plum, all dominated by earthiness (like, go outside, dig for a moment and then sniff), woods (cedar comes to mind for some idiot reason, even though I know they age in oak and there’s nothing in this wine that says “hamster cage” to me – instead, it’s more real, clean cedar, like a forest) and some warmth from the alcohol. There are lots of little, tiny whiffs of rubber and leather and mushroom and a bunch of oddities like that which I’d expect more from an Oregon Pinot Noir* than a Napa Cab, but which are fun to pick up and play with. It’s full and thick and layered, with teeth-coating tannins and a long, blackcurrant-y finish (that again, I swear, has some rubber in it)(and yet, it’s good – like, I know I hear “rubber” and think EEWWWRGH WHYYY and yet I like it here)(just trust me here, people).**

So this wine was far too much fun to play with and write about. It’s a bit more expensive than I usually go for (being, like most of us, rather broke), but it’s still a reasonably-priced wine and, well, it’s Sunday late-afternoon and I do not live in an afternoon tea-drinking part of the world. So, forget the tea: I have a few precious hours of leisure time, so I’m spending them with a trippy fun wine.

I hope your day passes as happily.

*if ever there was a wine that tasted like *everything*, it would be an Oregon Pinot Noir.
**whenever I find a flavor in wine like rubber (or brown leather jacket or whatever else), and I find that I really, really like it, I wonder what’s wrong with me.

2007 Chateau Bonnet Bordeaux

Featuring this week on Kim and Tonic:

2007 Chateau Bonnet Appellation Bordeaux Controllée
A Review in Tweets
(with apologies to those not on twitter, as that is likely to make reading this particular post difficult)

Region: Bordeaux, France
Grapes involved: 50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
Cost: $17.99
Food pairings: It worked fairly well with the chicken cacciatore we had for dinner.  It would probably rock with a steak au poivre.

To set the scene: I’ve had at least one memorable experience with being truly weirded out by French wine. This experience began the same way, and it occurred to me in a fit of silly to tweet the whole thing. So I did.

Roughly two minutes after opening the bottle and pouring a glass 
@kimandtonic: So. Just poured wine. Tastes like dirty feet and bitter tomatoes. Will update when it gets better. #wineexperiment

A conversation
@mittenstrings: @kimandtonic you should have a rating system on your blog for bad wine — like how many glasses until it gets tolerable.
@kimandtonic: @mittenstrings this will be good, supposedly. It’s a Bordeaux. Am timing how long it needs to aerate until it’s remotely drinkable.
@mittenstrings: @kimandtonic ah. This requires more effort than my wine-ing generally.
@kimandtonic: @mittenstrings what I am learning right now is that French wine is a PITA.

15 minutes post-pour
@kimandtonic: At the fifteen minute mark, wine smells like bitter tomatoes, feet and cherry. #wineexperiment Wine is 2007 Chateau Bonnet Bordeaux

30 minutes post-pour
@kimandtonic: Wine now smells like very little and tastes like sour peppercorns with a hint of cherry. #wineexperiment

45 minutes post-pour
@kimandtonic: Wine has developed tannin! Like, we almost have a flavor that isn’t undrinkably bad! #wineexperiment #whypeoplehatemerlot

53 minutes post-pour
@kimandtonic: We have wine! Leather, pepper, cherry, hint of earth, high tannin, full body, better with food than alone. #wineexperiment

Wrap up:
No sir, I don’t like it. Will try again in two days to see if ample breathing time makes it magically delicious. Have not yet given up on French wines, but I’m currently 1/3 on enjoying them.

In other words, part of me wonders if there’s something I’m missing, or a particular flavor profile I don’t yet understand; part of me wonders if the French keep most of their truly fantastic wines to themselves (which I would understand, frankly); part of me wonders if I’m just too high on the fruity Merlot I had the other day to appreciate the leather-pepper thing I had tonight; and finally, part of me wonders if maybe this wine just kinda sucks.