The Great American Cab Review, 2016

Outside my window, a massive silver maple looms over our house, threatening to one day penetrate the attic in a storm, and serving as the bane of my existence during what I’ve come to think of as “helicopter season.”  But this mighty tree, far older than I am, also signals for me the change of seasons in a way so beautiful that any thought of cutting it down has long since vanished from my mind.  The autumnal turn of leaves from green to all shades of red, gold, and brown triggers in me a response one part neurological, one part nostalgic, that grows more insistent as each year passes.  Fall means raking, which I loathe, and football, which I adore. Fall is when I mourn the passing of summer’s warmth and freedom, and when I celebrate the birth of my firstborn son. Fall reminds me ever so subtly that winter is coming (rest in peace, Eddard Stark) and of the impending cold that awaits all of us here in Nebraska.  And all of this, of course, I can read in the leaves.

But the looming period of cold is not without it’s purposes, not completely devoid of benefit.  For one thing, there’s sledding, and for another, the warmth of a fire. Most wonderfully, however, I have come to equate winter with Cabernet Sauvignon, that boldest of red wines that can warm the heart and soul even when the fierce elements outside have chilled you to the bone. Cabernet on a winter evening is a chance to reflect upon the day, perhaps even the year, to warm up and prepare for the coming of yet another winter’s day.

Over the course of this past year, I’d guess I’ve tasted something like 400 Cabernet Sauvignons, give or take. Not all of them were any good, of course, but I’ve taken this opportunity to share with you what I found to be some of the best, the most interesting, and the ones that hold the fondest memories. Many of these wines were tasted in tasting rooms, and many were submitted as samples for this article. All of them I’ve tasted, and all of them I recommend.

Some of these wines retail for as little as $10, while others will cost you more than $200.  Before we commence with the recommendations, I want to pass along one crucial piece of advice to anyone who drinks wine: treat a $100 bottle of Cab Sauv like a $100 bottle of Cab Sauv, storing it properly, decanting it for a while prior to serving, drinking from crystal when possible, and pairing it with good food and better company. And treat a $10 bottle the exact same way. It will bring out the best in the wine and help it to enhance the experience, I assure you. Ultimately, “good wine” is little more than a matter of personal preference.

For each Cab listed, I offer the average price in order that you can look for those that fit your own budget. If the wine is not readily available in the Omaha market, I’ve given you the web page of the winery so you might order it directly. If the wine is available in Omaha, it should be relatively easy to track a bottle down. If you have trouble finding one, or have a recommendation for a killer Cab that I failed to include, please send me an email.

So here we go, forty truly terrific Cabs that I recommend to help keep you warm this winter, and a few of my own memories to go along with them. I hope you enjoy these wines as much as I do, and that the stories they help you create will bring a smile to your face as you retell them for years and years to come.

To read the rest of the article, please go to Food & Spirits Magazine, where it was originally published:


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