The Road Less Traveled 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Stellenbosch, South Africa; 14.5% ABV
back label has the same stemware instructions as the Bordeaux Standard reds
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 14 May.  Also at Berkeley 16 May

RdLessTrav_2007_CabSauv_SAThis wine is pretty good from first pour, but becomes darker, richer, and smoother after about 75 minutes in a decanter.  Then it shows fairly rich, tangy, ripe, dark red cherry fruit with some complexity of redder plum, rusty earth, and a vegetal component that I found very tasty.  The best I could come up for the latter is an “average” of bay leaf and cooked green bell pepper.  The finish is slightly roughly textured in a plum skin sort of way, but not unpleasant.  I think this wine is quite good for the price, but don’t wait to drink it after you buy it.  It strikes me as just about to start going over the hill.

I saved half of this bottle in a 375ml bottle closed with a stopper and very little air.  I’ll update this post if it shows anything surprising, but for now I wanted to get the word out.

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72 thoughts on “The Road Less Traveled 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

  1. Tara

    I shop at GO And always browse the wine section. This last summer I believe in July I was preparing for a camping trip and chose to get A Road Less Traveled I only bought one bottle, I got a wine that I knew as a backup just in case I didn’t like the RLT. I was pleasantly surprised of how much I really like this wine when I got back from camping i went to GO and all the bottles were gone . I have been back several times checking. The wine manager reassures me that as soon as he sees it in the warehouse he will order it, he has no control if they don’t have it in the warehouse. I won’t be a piggy if I see it again but I just may get 6:)
    I shop at the kent Washington GO.
    They have a new wine called Avery Lane I do believe it’s a cab and I am thoroughly enjoying this one it is a Washington Wine. I am sort of hoarding on these bottle but I am willing to share! :))

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Thanks for chiming in here, Tara. Which of the two Road Less traveled Cabs are you referencing? The 2007 or 2008? While I enjoyed both and preferred the 2007, I was not as big a fan as some of our readers (see my lim13 comments below). I have never seen the 2007 here in Kitsap, but one of our “regulars” was kind enough to buy me a few in Seattle. As of last weekend there was still quite a bit of the 2008 in both Silverdale and Bremerton, as sales have slowed down considerably). Once it’s gone, I don’t expect to see it again, but who knows? Please keep us updated if you find any.

      I recently reviewed the Avery Lane Chardonnay, but haven’t seen any of the Cab.

      Reply
  2. lim13

    I’m fairly certain that we set a record for number of comments on a single post a long time ago on the RLT Cabs…but please allow me to add another. The 2008 vintage of this wine has now finally shown up at the Bremerton GO. And as I mentioned on “What’s New”, I already bought some at the Lake City store yesterday and reader flitcraft bought me two from the Kenmore store. I hope to review the 2008 tonight or tomorrow, so stay tuned.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      I opened the two vintages side-by-side tonight…2007 and 2008. I originally intended to do a separate review of the ’08, but there have been so many comments from readers plus BW’s original review of the ’07 that I decided to just make a few remarks. I enjoyed both vintages, but preferred the 2007. In general terms, I found the ’07 to be more classic Cab Sauv: more varietal in its wonderful nose and flavors (coffee, cherry, leather). I felt the ’08 was more fruit forward and simple with far less vegetal character. However the vegetal, green/red pepper character that was often mentioned by our readers wasn’t nearly as strong as I expected…so consequently I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. And personally, I found more smokey qualities in the ’08, which also showed more red fruit than the black fruit I found in the ’07. Acidity seemed a bit higher in the ’08 too.

      Bottom line for me…while both are indeed tasty…I will not be beating a path back to the store for more of either. Perhaps all the hype here on the blog just set me up for disappointment. No expectations equals less chance of disappointment?

      Reply
      1. lim13

        And to keep the comment string here going…for those who may be interested, there were about ten or more 6-pak cases of the 2008 TRLT Cab Sauv at Silverdale today.

        Reply
      2. lim13

        Hard to believe these wines are still being discussed (but here I am again). As I said earlier, while tasty…I hardly found them to be extraordinary…even considering the “QPR”. And as of last Friday there was plenty of the 2008 (NO 2007) at both the Silverdale and Bremerton stores as sales have slowed considerably.

        Reply
  3. bin5

    The 2008 is at the Maple Valley, WA store. I am sipping on it as I type. Personally, I like the 2007 better. This one does have more fruit, but it is a little on the sweet and jammy side and not as well integrated as the 2007. First impression anyway, still a decent wine for the money.

    Reply
  4. Seedboy

    I spoke with Steve at Oakland about this wine. He said that he never got even one bottle of the second batch of this. Apparently one of the warehouses hijacked all of it. Where are people seeing it?

    Reply
      1. 5-Star Bar

        Sure enough the 2008 Road Less Traveled has appeared at the Grocery Outlet in San Francisco. I picked up my 3rd bottle about a week ago for my own vertical to taste alongside the 2007 with some friends. It seems that in SFO (Travis being the sterling chap that he is) they are putting it out on the shelf in small quantities so as to discourage hoarding and to level the playing field so that as many people as possible will have the chance to try this widely discussed wine. To my mind it remains a very high QPR (Quality to Price Ratio).

        Gesondheit! (Cheers! – Afrikaans)

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          “so that as many people as possible will have the chance to try this widely discussed wine” … I seem to recall we heard that one store grabbed all of it, so none showed up over here in the East Bay. Is SF the store that did that?

          Reply
          1. 5-Star Bar

            It seems to have appeared on GO store shelves and been noted on this blog at a variety of different locations from California to Washington so I can’t say I subscribe to the “single store” conspiracy theory. Nor do I think that another Warren Commission will be in the works…

            Reply
            1. Seedboy

              When Steve was still running the Oakland wine, he told me that he never got any of this wine at all, and I have never seen it at any East Bay store, so I’m pretty sure it never surfaced in the east bay.

  5. bin5

    I had another bottle of this wine. It is really quite excellent for the style. I went back and bought a case for a dinner party.

    Reply
  6. 5-Star Bar

    2008 The Road Less Traveled Stellenbosch South Africa Cabernet Sauvignon

    Several days ago I mentioned that this popular Cabernet Sauvignon would indeed be returning to GO store shelves soon. What I can now reveal to readers is the pleasantly surprising twist to this tale. The wine that has begun appearing on NorCal shelves (as usual I bought mine at the lovely GO in San Francisco) is not the 2007 that has received much acclaim here, rather it is the previously unheard of 2008 – a new and stylistically different vintage with a subtle upgrade to the labels (slightly larger and crisper imaging). I took a couple of days with this wine as the previous vintage rewarded my patience, becoming smoother, more integrated, and complex within the same time frame.

    While the 2007 was a wilder, more distinctively South African bottling (with pronounced herbal/vegetal and smoky notes) the 2008 is more reminiscent of a traditional Bordeaux. While I personally enjoyed the quirky “Cuvee Sauvage” style of the 2007 RLT release version, I think that the 2008 will be a more immediate crowd pleaser. Unlike its predecessor the wine showed its best on Day 1. It shut down on Day 2, but pleasantly re-opened on Day 3. The person who bought cases of the 2007 to serve at his relative’s wedding would not be disappointed with the 2008 vintage. Consistent with the drinking habits of the majority of American consumers it is ready to drink after a brief breathing (1 hour+) and will continue to improve for some hours thereafter.

    On the palate are familiar notes of cassis (black currant), and dark plum. While savory notes are still present in this wine I would say that they are less vegetal and more herbal in character and, while they were definitely in the for ground in the previous incarnation of this Cab, in the 2008 they are more a background element.
    The wine finishes pleasantly dry with smooth, polished tannins from the aging in Oak. In any event, YMMV so I would say pick up a bottle or two of this to try out yourself and have a second bottle in your collection in case this “Phantom Vintage” disappears from store shelves after being snapped up by customers like the previous vintage was! I give it a thumbs up, especially since it’s still value priced at $4.99.

    “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”

    Nelson Mandela

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      I have been to several GO’s and haven’t seen the 2008 RLT yet. Did they get snapped up or most haven’t arrived yet?

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        I’ve been in three in the last two days (Oakland, San Leandro, Berkeley) and still have seen none of it.

        Reply
      2. 5-Star Bar

        When I first picked up the 2007 RLT the distribution pattern was much the same as what I’m seeing with the 2008. A few bottles on the shelf at first. Then, after the the initial “sample” bottles disappeared from the shelves – nothing . For a while the wine seemed to have simply vanished. Then, after about 4-6 weeks a substantial number of cases appeared. I suspect that this time around will be similar.

        BTW I opened my second bottle recently to reevaluate. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I liked the second bottle even better than I did the first. I could detect a more distinct, yet subtle note of that Stellenbosch smokiness, especially on day 3. Now I’m thinking that this new vintage may actually be an even more refined and impressive bottling than the 2007 RLT. I still have a bottle of the 2007 so if I can get my hands on another 2008 I’m thinking that a vertical tasting will be in order. A very “masculine” yet elegant style that, as Emeril Lagaase might put it, is kicked up a notch from GO’s first generation of this South African. Perfect for roasted or grilled fare. Again, an absolutely superb value IMHO. Now if I could only get my hands on some Ostrich…

        Reply
    2. Delmartian1

      Was at the Oceanside GO on July 25 and no sign of the new one…come on Mark (GO owner)…put it on your order sheet!

      Reply
  7. 5-Star Bar

    I would never dare to slight my fellow vino aficionados down south. Truth be told although I am a naturalized citizen of Northern California I am a proud SoCal native as I was born and raised in L.A. Although I have no “juice” as to what GO wines get distributed where I certainly hope that all of you out there in the blogosphere get your due. Seems to me odds are that you will…

    Reply
  8. 5-Star Bar

    Rest assured dear readers that that there is indeed more of the Road Less Traveled forthcoming in the near future. I cannot reveal more immediate details at the moment, but I can promise you that there will be a pleasant, entirely unexpected, and surprising twist to the arrival of the next shipment to local Bay Area GO stores. I have in my possession an advance bottle which is, I can assure you, currently undergoing the most rigorous scientific experimentation possible. Stay tuned to this blog until tomorrow for further news and information. Not the same Bat Time necessarily, but definitely the same Bat Channel…

    Roman Proverb

    Latin
    In pane ci sta vita,
    In vino ci sta laetitia.

    English
    In bread there is life,
    In wine there is joy.

    Reply
      1. lim13

        And us web-footed “schlubs” up here in WA state! Thanks for speaking up, Delmartian. Maybe the GO wine buyer is reading our blog.

        Reply
  9. seedboy

    Steve at Oakland told me July 14 that he expects to receive more of this wine. He does not intend to put it out on the floor because he can save the effort and sell it out of the back by word of mouth. When I know more I will let you know.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      I’ll be curious about that, SB…because the stores up this way that re-ordered it from their order guides told me that it came back as “out-of-stock”. Please keep us posted.

      Reply
  10. lim13

    This wine finally arrived at the Silverdale store a few days ago. All the banter about it on the blog piqued my interest and I haven’t had a South African red in years (though I have a bottle of 1979 SA Cab in the cellar), so I wanted to give it a try and compare notes. Unfortunately I couldn’t get there until today. Gone! Found none on the shelves, so I assume someone really liked it. So I called the Bremerton store to see if they had any. Wine steward told me that someone had just left the store with all four of the 6-bottle cases she had. What a piggy!! So, I’m guessing I won’t be trying it anytime soon…if at all. Bummer! Life goes on.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Confirmed! I just spoke with my connection at the Silverdale store and it was the same customer who cleaned out everything in both stores. If you’re one of our readers, how about selling me one bottle of the stuff so I can at least try it?

      Reply
      1. lim13

        In calling around to the north Seattle area stores, I’ve located at least six bottles at the Lake City store, but the owner/manager is unwilling to hold them for me until later this month. He’s afaid I might not show (fat chance!). But I know he’d have no trouble selling them if I didn’t. If any of our readers would like to buy up to six for me, I’ll make arrangements to meet you somewhere on that side. And if not…hope some of our regular readers are able to pick up some for themselves! : ~)

        Reply
        1. flitcraft

          When I saw your post, I jumped into the car and headed out to the Lake City GO. Snagged four bottles. I want one to try, but you’re welcome to the others. I’m out of town starting Sunday and won’t be back till later this month, so if you can wait…

          Reply
          1. lim13

            You are a gem, flitcraft! My father-in-law in Lake Forest Park has a medical appt. on July 23rd, so if that works for you, maybe we can work something out to meet somewhere at your convenience. And if for some reason the wine appears over here in between, I’ll still take what you’d like to sell me (just in case you’d prefer to keep some or all after you taste that one bottle). And please…let us know what you thought of the wine.

            Reply
            1. flitcraft

              That should work out fine. I probably won’t have tried the wine by then, though. So you’re welcome to the three bottles I managed to get, leaving me one for curiosity’s sake.

      2. Darrell

        I am bit disturbed that your inquiry at the Silverdale store didn’t elicit a NOYB response from your loose lipped connection. I don’t think GO wine stewards or other employees should be big mouthing customer’s buying habits.

        Reply
        1. Darrell

          My apologies if it wasn’t an inquiry, but rather voluntary buying information by both the Bremerton and Silverdale stores about the same customer. I just find identifying customer’s buying habits disturbing.

          Reply
        2. lim13

          I like to think I have a better relationship with that wine steward than to get a NOYB reply. He’s deferred to me with a number of questions about wine, which I’m very happy to answer. And it was me that inquired. I didn’t ask the name of the customer…nor would I. That indeed is none of my business…whether I knew them or not. And I know the wine steward would never divulge any names…he’s a great guy. I merely told him that I saw in the store’s “new wines” email that The Road Less Travelled had finally made it’s way to the store, but that there was none when I arrived. He told me sorry, but a customer had come in and bought it all. I then called the other nearby store and was told the same thing. I could see a problem if the stewards had identified the customer and their buying habits. But that wasn’t the case. There were conversations like this all the time in the retail wine shops I supervised.

          That’s it. It’s over and one of our readers was kind enough to grab a few bottles of the wine in Seattle for me, so I get to try it. And the unknown customer with the four cases is likely happy. And yes…maybe they did find out about it by reading our blog…it’s happened before and will happen again. That’s a credit to the blog as I see it.

          Reply
          1. jwc

            I had a similiar experience awhile back with Neyers chardonnay, the day I mentioned it on this blog, someone came in and bought it all. Can’t blame them, as I got a fair share, and realized once I mentioned it here, it would be gone. As the old saying goes, you snooze, you lose…. 4 cases does warrant the term piggy in my book, as in Porky 🙂 Ideally something new/ tasty will show up soon. The ’07 RLT is good, I don’t know if it warrants this much discussion, but such is how the wind blows when, not much of anything new is on the shelves.

            Reply
            1. lim13

              I have to agree with you last sentence in particular, JWC…I think this wine may be selling as much on hype as quality at this point. But won’t know until I try a bottle.

            2. Seedboy

              I will never forget: the Berkeley store got 14 cases of a white burgundy and was selling it for $14 a bottle. I stopped by early on a weekday, saw it and bought one bottle to try. Guy who was right behind me bought all of the rest of it.

            3. lim13

              WOW, SB…he must have really liked that stuff! Guess the hard part for me is that I rarely buy a case of anything anymore (let alone 14 cases). I have so much wine now that if I bought full cases it would now be occupying it’s own upstairs bedroom. Plus I’m just too ecclectic and get easily bored drinking the same wine over and over. I usually buy in threes and if I really like something, maybe six. Plus I’m too damn slow at drinking what I’ve had cellared for years.

              Just had my 26th and last annual tasting for friends here at the house. I brought up all old reds that included an 83 Elk Cove PN, 81 BV Georges De Latour Cab, 85 Leonetti Cab, 85 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Cab, 86 Spottswoode Cab, 87 Woodward Canyon Cab and others. What an eye-opening, educational experience for 16 of us.

            4. jwc

              I did venture down to Salem yesterday, and east into Stayton, just lots of the same ol stuff, Bordeaux galore at Lancaster/Salem, even some Masked Rider ’09 pinot noir marked down to $5. Sheez that was around well over a year ago. did pick up an Australian ’07 SB that I like Pike & Royce, and even had some of the Lunatic white blend…but basically a complete waste of time, and two hours I’ll never get back. One additional comment on folks who read this blog, cherry picking, and choose not to comment or review a wine. They simply raid a GO or two, and clean out the shelves…REALLY? For Pete’s sake, at least write a blurb on the wine! Ahhh, felt good to get that out,cleansing breath, more wine please.

    2. Darrell

      Two cases of a wine warrants the term piggy? The number of comments down here generated enough interest for this individual to actively pursue this wine.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        That would be four cases, Darrell….two in each store. And when it’s their entire stock of the product, that qualifies as piggy by me. But that’s the customer’s perrogative. They win…I lose. I’ve just always been in the habit of at least leaving a bottle or two for someone else…particularly when I’m aware that I may be taking all that they have. That’s just me.

        Reply
        1. Darrell

          I was commenting about your top comment so I didn’t realize the same customer bought two more. I don’t quite realize how you know it’s the same person without some form of identification by the two wine stewards. I am glad you commented on your wine tasting as I was going to ask you about it under your first mentioning about it. I was curious about the bottles had. I was wondering why the last annual tasting.

          Reply
          1. lim13

            Don’t know, but I expect the customer went directly from Silverdale to Bremerton and perhaps after selling the customer everything she had, the wine steward said, “You must really like this stuff” and the customer replied, “Yeah! I just bought everything they had in Silverdale.” Or…the customer cleaned out everything in Silverdale and then asked the wine steward there to please call up to Bremerton to see if they had any there that could be held for the customer. Who knows? But there are a number of possibilities.

            As for my last annual tasting, Darrell…it just became too much work. In the 35 years my wife and I have known each other, we’ve only had a dishwasher for five years (and that was 24 years ago). We’re tired of hand washing 32+ wine glasses and water glasses, food and dessert dishes etc. Plus, I always research the wines and print up info sheets and tasting note sheets for everyone. As much of a blast as the tastings have been, they consume a lot of time prior to and after the actual event. In short: I’m getting older and more tired faster. I don’t like that! I’ve passed the gauntlet, but no one has accepted the challenge…yet.

            Reply
            1. Patrick

              Having seen the wine list for your annual tasting I would assume you have the potential for more than 20 years of tastings in store, and with the quality of wines you open I can’t help but think that some of our WA. state GO contributors would love to drop by with towels and aprons, or a dish washer dressed as a French maid!

            2. lim13

              Got a good laugh out of me, Patrick…thanks! We’ll see if I get any GO shopping takers “with towels and aprons”. Would love to see that “dish washer dressed as a French maid”, but I suspect my wife might have a different opinion. Ouch! I was only kidding, honey!

            3. jwc

              Heck for a taste of the Leonetti ’85 cab and the Woodward Canyon cab, I’ll drive up from Portland to wash a few glasses Lim13. I do remember seeing a Leonetti ’85 cab sav in the clearance section at a local Beaverton Fred Meyer in ’88. It was going for $27.99 I believe, and I passed up on it, too expensive. Settling for a number of ’84 Raymond Reserve cab savs for $15, and I’ve been kicking myself ever since, having just moved up from the Bay Area, had no idea who/what Leonetti was at the time.By the way, what was the WOTN? I’m guessing Leonetti or Woodward Canyon, I would be surprised if the BV George was in the top three. Sounds like a fun time!

            4. lim13

              I paid $26.79 for that Leonetti when first released around 1987 or 88, JWC. You’re hard pressed to find any Leonetti Cab for under $100 nowadays. Which is why I stopped buying them in the mid 90’s. And you’re right…the Leonetti was the top wine…which surprised me because the other early vintages I’ve opened have been pretty unimpressive. Woodward Canyon and Spottswoode have aged very well too.

  11. bin5

    Like I mentioned in What’s New, this wine showed up in the South Seattle area for $6. I rather like this wine. The savory, herbal and “vegetal” character is well balanced and complex. As some have mentioned it opens up with some cassis and for me, a little plum. A thumbs up for style. Fruit forward fans beware.

    Reply
    1. jwc

      I opened a bottle of this SA Cab tonight too, I like it, seems a bit rustic, big or as Bin5 mentioned savory, has some green components for sure, but they meld well into the various flavor profiles, and don’t completely dominate. Seemed to improve, after I vinturi’d into a decanter, and then vintinuri’d back into a cab stem…nice wine. Not anywhere as good as the Le Riche Reserve ’01 cab, or for that matter the ’01 Le Riche Cab Merlot blend, but well worth your dollar, went nicely with a T-Bone. Thumbs Up, cab sav fans will like this, and respect the style.

      Reply
  12. PW

    We tried this tonight. While it’s not my favorite cab (apparently I lean more toward the fruit forward types from Napa/Sonoma) it was not disagreeable.

    Immediately upon opening, we noticed the vegetal smell. BW mentioned green pepper and I could smell that. Mostly I noticed what smelled like decomposing grass with green pepper under tones.

    Having read the posts about it, I decided to decant. My method is 2 hrs in the winebreather carafe and then back in the bottle for another few before dinner.

    I tasted it before decanting and actually liked the smoky flavor. It reminded me a bit of beef jerky (but not in a bad way). I tasted it after the 2 hrs in the wine breather and it was definitely more open…a bit fruitier but I could also taste the green pepper a bit. Pretty much the same after the next few hours in the bottle. It wasn’t overpowering or displeasing though. Just noticeable.

    I liked the dry-ness of this wine. Given the 14.5% alcohol, you can tell the heat is definitely there. The fruit flavor stymied me…I didn’t taste cherry or plum…at least not that I’m familiar with. It wasn’t like any fruit I’ve tasted before so I kept “searching” to see if I recognized the flavor and I don’t. I did taste the bay-leaf…and some grass. And probably I’m waxing to elaborate but it was a nicely multi-dimensional wine so it was fun to explore it’s phases.

    A sweet, red meat definitely made the experience more enjoyable for me. I have another bottle and while I wouldn’t go out and buy a case (it’s a nice cab but not in the way that I prefer), I definitely now how/what to serve it with and enjoy it.

    Reply
    1. GOWineLover

      Couldn’t agree more. Nice cab for the price especially using the $3/$20 via the email signup on the GO website; however, it’s not my preferred type of Cab but nice if you like a big wine with very pronounced vegetal notes. I can’t pinpoint the fruit, either. This reminds me in a few ways of the ’06 Nenow cab (though I don’t have notes and only bought one bottle). Looking forward to see it transform tonight and have 3/4 of the bottle tomorrow with lamb.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        I actually get red not green bell pepper. There is not much identifiable fruit in this, and that is often true of the better SA Bordeaux varietals. They are more savory with herb flavors. I got chocolate in this when I opened my second bottle.

        Reply
          1. Seedboy

            I think the second bottle showed better than the first. And based on my experience with SA Bordeaux wines I think you could cellar this a while, as these wines are not about fruit so it does not matter when what fruit there is fades.

            Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi PW. Thanks for trying a wine that sounded a little out of your usual tastes, and for telling us about it. Did you get to try any of this wine the next day?

      Reply
      1. PW

        No I didn’t have any more. My husband finished it. He said that it tasted very vegetal (moreso than the day before), heavier green pepper taste, but the fruit taste wasn’t much different.

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          I opened a bottle of this tonight. I put half in a 375ml bottle and stoppered it with little air, and let the rest air in an open decanter for two hours before I tried any. On the plus side, those darker fruit flavors were there already, but on the minus side the acid was strong in a way that I didn’t taste in my first bottle. This makes me think it’s already starting to get too old. If the second half is like that, too, I’ll update the original post, or maybe I’ll try another bottle first. 🙂

          Reply
            1. BargainWhine Post author

              I opened the second half of that second bottle, and, while I liked it better than the first half, it did indeed have a slight tinge of too-old-ness. Still, quite good for $5.

  13. seedboy

    I wanted to like this wine more than I actually did. I tasted it a couple of days after the 2003 Le Riche, and definitely like the latter more – better balanced, more complex.

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      Plus there is this high QPR of the Le Riche. You got 2 1/2 bottles of Le Riche for one The Road Less Traveled.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        Of course, you have to find some of the Le Riche. I understand it was not in the order guide ever, and that 5 cases of it just appeared at the Berkeley store. They are long gone.

        Reply
  14. Delmartian1

    Picked up a bottle in Oceanside over the weekend to try. It was interesting to experience how the wine developed after being open for 30 minutes…much improved. Will try the second half of the bottle tonight paired with eggplant parmagiana and ground bison..should be a good match. Will probably go back for a half dozen more if it continues to improve.

    Reply
  15. 5-StarBar

    I picked this one up at GO-SFO recently. I was quite favorably impressed. A very complex and elegant Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon. Just one thing – one needs to have a bit of patience with this wine. As with many others, I’ve found that in order to show itself to you at its level best it needs a bit of breathing time to relax and unwind after 5+ years in bottle and the long voyage from South Africa. Decant it for a few hours beforehand or pour out a glass and save the rest of the bottle for the following day, when I found it to be a bit smoother and better integrated. Your patience will then be rewarded with complex flavors of cassis (black currant), dark cherry, dark chocolate and the aforementioned herbal/vegetal elements that I perceive as bay leaf, tobacco and green or black olive but which others may well describe as green bell pepper. There’s even a wisp of that quintessentially South African smoke on the dark, dry, and intriguing finish. Insofar as its savory olive note is concerned it reminded me of some of the better Sonoma Cabernets. It also features a subtle, mysterious, and lovely label of a remote forested road, darkened by towering trees, with a lone cyclist traversing its winding path. Reminiscent of a South African version of Lucas Valley Road in Marin from Skywalker Ranch to Nicasio.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi 5-StarBar and welcome! I was a little skeptical that the wine I tasted could stand up to the airing regimen you recommend, so I opened my saved half bottle. I have to admit that it could be the case. The second half showed blackberry / boysenberry / cassis in a way it had not before, and was indeed smoother and more integrated, nicely delineated with a rich texture throughout. Even so, I still think it should be drunk up soon.

      Reply
    2. Darrell

      Yes, 5-StarBar, there are a lot of these Roads Less Traveled here in Marin where one can bike and pop open a bottle. Glad to have your evaluation of this Stellenbosch as it sounds better than the 2003 Le Riche.

      Reply
    3. Darrell

      The SF GO has a bit more of this wine and so decided to try a bottle even though SB liked the 2003 Le Riche cab/merlot blend more. I find your description of the wine quite apt and can’t add more. Decent med. finish.

      Reply
  16. Seedboy

    I’ve bought a bottle and will probably try it tonight. I really love Stellenbosch red wines and your description of the median of cooked bell pepper and bay leaf is a pretty good description of the typical flavor of wines from there. Some of my all time favorite GO wines were Stellenbosch cab-based wines (1999 Rust en Vrede, 1999 Naledi) and I’m loving the recent one from Le Riche.

    Reply
  17. BargainWhine Post author

    Hi Don. Thanks for the reference. Here is the link I think you’re referring to:
    http://www.tastings.com/scout_wine.lasso?id=193273
    And the notes there are: Dark garnet black color. Dense aromas of dried cherry, smoky grilled peppers and herbs, and creamy mocha meringue with a supple dryish medium body and a dash of char-grilled apple and smoked whole nuts on the zesty finish. Intriguing smokiness; serve with grilled game or portabello mushroom burgers.

    Reply

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