Cate 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley, CA; 13.5% ABV
$9 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 1 July

Cate_2012_CabSauvThis wine has been around for a long time by GO standards.  Some people have highly recommended it, so I finally got a bottle when there was a dearth of new wines recently.  While it’s not really to my taste, I guess I see what people like about it.

This wine is pretty tasty on first pour, but opens and integrates more with about 45 minutes in the glass.  It has Napa Valley floor flavors of very ripe bing cherry, blackberry, redder cranberry sauce, and sweet vanilla / oak.  Especially after about an hour of air, the wine became quite subtly nuanced, in very nice balance.  This is all pretty good for those who like this style, but what I object to is a rather jammy character and a sort of stewed rhubarb flavor that I suspect is from American oak.

The next day, the saved single-glass screw cap bottle of this wine tasted pretty much the same, but a bit more robust and not as nuanced.  Even though I didn’t like it all that much, I preferred it on the first day.  Also, I liked it better after I put hot sauce in my food, when I appreciated its sweet fruitiness.

So, much like the Four Star red, I have to apologize to those who like these wines.  It seems that many people like them, but they’re just not for me.  After writing all this, I looked up what readers had to say about this wine.  Here is a very different take from contributor PW.  Anyone else?

13 thoughts on “Cate 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

  1. RG

    At my local GO today I saw a couple looking intently at the wines. She saw this one (Cate) and said, Napa Valley, that is where Gallo is from. I was nice and said that Napa is a small area where Gallo started (and about 1/4 the size of our county), but few of their wines are from there today, mostly Central Valley.
    They bought a 1L bottle of Luna di Luna Cab/Merlot red table wine from Italy that I’m guessing will be quite decent. Good quaffer.
    Anyway, the Lakewood WA store is on their last case of the 4-Star, why I dropped in.

    1. lim13

      For the record…to my knowledge, Gallo never started or resided in Napa. Their home has always been in Modesto, Stanislaus County which is indeed in the Central Valley. And if you need more Four Star, RG…there were 12 cases of it in Silverdale last weekend.

      1. seedboy

        Lim13 is right. However, Gallo owns the Louis Martini winery in the Napa Valley and the vineyards that winery owned in the Napa Valley. Gallo also owns the old Frei Ranch in Dry Creek and has a winemaking facility there, and owns vineyards spread out over Sonoma County including a large Chardonnay vineyard right across the road from Dehlinger, and the old MacMurray Ranch in the RRV.

        1. lim13

          Thanks for sharing the additional info, Seedboy. Indeed…Gallo (longtime family friends of the Martinis) bought the Martini Winery and vineyards in Napa in 2002. I’ve had a number of Gallo premium wines (though none recently) from their Sonoma County holdings, particularly Frei Ranch that you mentioned. They made some pretty decent Chardonnays, thanks to the Gallo kids…particularly daughter Gina.

          1. JoelA

            I recall reading somewhere that before Gallo used to buy some 25% of the grapes produced in the Napa Valley and used them in making their Central Valley wines..

          2. seedboy

            It seemed like the premium Gallo offerings were much more widely available more than ten years ago. I rarely even see them now, other than the Rancho Zaboco label zins. I wonder where all of that Laguna Ridge chardonnay goes now.

        2. Darrell

          While not like the above ownerships, Gallo also purchased the Mirassou Brand. It is too bad the Evergreen district where Mirassou’s first vineyards were don’t exist anymore. I remember enjoying the 1964 Santa Clara CS, but soon after their Salinas Valley CS came into production along with the vegetal character found there in those pioneering years there.

          1. Seedboy

            It took a long time to kind of figure out where to grow what. Salinas Valley (particularly the hills ringing it) now produces great cooler-climate grapes. Not a place for cab.

  2. Expat

    This interchange, BargainWhine’s review and PW’s reply, is what I love about this blog. A glowing review or a critical review can be deceiving without context. In this case, both parties clearly identified their points of view and judged the wine accordingly. Incidentally, I was curious about this wine but my gut told me to hold off. After reading BargainWhine’s review I felt that it was not a style I would appreciate. Reading PW’s comments cemented that notion. Again, none of us is making a judgment on style but these two scribes produced a sharp elucidation of this wine’s profile, which I appreciate.

  3. PW

    Really I’m not at all surprised that this cab wasn’t to your taste (given the fact that I’ve liked many things you’ve considered “jammy”). I don’t think it’s anything to apologize for though. Everyone has a preference area. I am finding that I very much like cabs where you can taste the fruit (vs. vegetation or leather or smoke etc.). It’s just my preference and I’m not apologetic for that either, lol. I don’t think it makes those other cabs any less “worthy” of attention. In fact, being more “old world style” they probably are more worthy. But they still aren’t my preference. I love the new world, Napa influence. I love wine that tastes like fruit. I love layers and nuances and I just enjoy the beverage. Sometimes I’ll try one outside my comfort zone just to see if there’s something I’m missing or not seeing.

    That’s what I love about this blog. I can read the reviews and get to know the styles preferred by a particular reviewer and gauge what I might or might not want to try based on past experience with them. If that makes sense.

    Anyway, I’m glad you tried it, just to hear your opinion on it. Sorry you didn’t like it. I expect that it will fall nicely for some and others will feel the same as you.

    1. PW

      P.S. I didn’t mean to make it sound like I only like massive fruit blast wines. Because actually I don’t at all. I like a dry-ish red. I like mocha, I like espresso, I like Cocoa tastes in the wines…licorice…spices etc. I just like all of those other things to be balanced with fruit versus the smoker leather or green pepper etc.

        1. PW

          Very true. I guess I should have clarified…it’s my preference in cabernet. I used to hate cabernet. I seemed to always choose the peppery (I don’t mind this as long as it’s well integrated but a lot of times it’s not) or the bell peppery (loathe) or the smoke/leather (hate the smoke, can deal with the leather in balanced wine) wines. Then I discovered Napa/Sonoma and haven’t looked back.

          On the other side, I’m a huge fan of several Spanish style wines and find myself drawn to the actual wines from Spain vs. their new world counterparts. Actually tempranillo is currently wrecking my summer wine schedule…I’m supposed to be consuming the whites I set aside for the heat and I keep drinking Spanish reds.

          For me, it’s the same with Pinot Grigio…I love the Italian dry style and pretty much hate the fruit forward versions so popular here on the West Coast. Yet the pinot noirs I like are all new world style (lean toward the RRV and Willamette Valley over Burgundies) etc. etc. etc. and dislike other regions.

          Then you get to specific vineyards or areas that zero it down even more…I’m super partial to the Stags Leap appellation (I like the big of graphite that seems to offset the fruit) Oakville, Callistoga and “Rutherford dust” lol. Or the Walla Walla merlots…I seem to love those most of the time…

          Anyway, it’s hard to pigeonhole a wine preference…and I’m sorry for droning on. But if I’m going to recommend a wine, it’s usually based on the above.


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