September 1, 2011 2 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

It was #CabernetDay with Cook With James and The Noble Rot

The Cabs we "sipped"

The Second Annual Social Media blitzkrieg, “#CabernetDay” hit Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, Tumblr pages and the whites of our teeth across this country on Thursday, September 1st. The Twitter Sphere was alive with consumers, wineries, brand ambassadors and people like James Stolich (Cook With James) and I touting and conversing about the king of all grapes: Cabernet. Briefly, you may be keen to know that Cab was not the king of grapes pre-phylloxera. That was Malbec. However Malbec didn’t graft well to the new American Rootstock being planted in France after Phylloxera, and so it settled into the role of tiny percentages in Bordeaux blends. Well, maybe there’ll be a #MalbecDay soon. We’ll have to ask Rick Bakas – the chap behind this global call to action.

We had a great time hosting an evening of 25 San Franciscans (some communists, some Philistines, and the rest naturalists). James dished out an incredible family-style meal, detailed below in the wine pairings we came up with. James is a hell of a cook and offers classes as well as fanciful dinners for small groups. I met James when he was one of the chaps cooking for the Michelin Guide Red Book release party at the Clift Hotel last October out here in SF. This time, James and I teamed up to host at his fabulous apartment in Ashbury Heights.

The Cabs we tasted/guzzled were:

  • 2007 “Alexis” Swanson Vineyards Cab Sauv (Oakville) $75
  • 2007 Kelly Fleming Cab Sauv (Calistoga) 100% Cab Sauv, 850 cases produced – $90
  • 2007 Mueller Family Vineyards Cab Sauv (Diamond Mtn), 100% Cab Sauv, 168 cases produced – $48
  • 2007 The Terraces Cab Sauv (Napa Valley) 95.23% Cab Sauv, 2.38% Malbec, 2.38% Petite Sirah, 465 cases produced –  $48
  • 2008 Taken Cab Sauv (Napa Valley) $30
  • 2005 Smith-Madrone Cab Sauv (Spring Mtn) 82% Cab Sauv, 9% Merlot, 9% Cab Franc – 1,459 cases produced – $45 (photo below)

Last but not least.

And what, good reader do you want to know about these cabs? Well, let me say this: we all enjoyed the different styles of these Cabs. Smith-Madrone was the most like a Bordeaux-style Cab and certainly has had more time to mellow into itself, with soft and round tannins. Taken had great acidity and paired nicely with James’s creamy burrata with Dirty Girl Farm tomatoes. Mueller was a treat on its own — the scotch drinkers Cab I call it. Alexis and the 5 Dot Ranch braised beef (one of James’ specialties) left us all on the floor, singing gospels songs to praise the pairing. Kelly Fleming was as enchanting as you might imagine the actual Kelly to be, and I can attest as I’ve met her and toured the Kelly Fleming caves dug into Mt. St. Helena. The Terraces sipped with crostini of eggplant caponata transported us all to the high holy days of Rome. Why Rome? Why not?

Check out The Terraces fruit!

The Terraces

The Terraces

James is old pals with Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist), and Craig graced our party with his presence. A delightful chap who I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with!

Craig Newmark (Craigslist) and Jonny Cigar on #CabernetDay 2011

And there was a surprise of the evening: JAQK Cellars. A delightful gal named Kelsey brought along a stylish cab of immense taste and weight. I loved the packaging and so would any fellow bootlegger/gambler. Check this stuff out:

JAQK Cellars "22 Black" - the bottles is a damn roulette wheel!!! And we tasted through a vertical: 2006, 07 08. The 2007 rocked us.

The rest of the photos can do the talking below. This week coming up on Winetology: my first experience hosting solo the Salon Tastings at Swanson Vineyards, updates on the launch of the Noble Rot Talks podcast, a recent trip to the Hill Family Estate farm and mucho vino moro.

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    1. Jonny Cigar Author

      Mouth feel? Maybe I was talking about mouth-feel? Frank, it’s likely I was drinking a good deal of Glenmorangie when I made that statement. Ya know… Amber waves of grain…

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