2011 Luna Cabernet Sauvignon $7.99

Luna Vineyards, Napa CA
14.1% ABV
Purchased: Corvallis, OR 1-5-2015

IMG_0926Well, if anyone was going to buy this, it would be me. I fell in love with the 2010 Lunatic Red blend at GO. I’m surprised that no one here ever reviewed it…but this is a refresher for those that missed it; also, loved the 2011 Lunatic white blend that Lim13 reviewed. We ended up purchasing a case of the red blend from GO and another from another store when GO ran out, as well as a case of the white. Still have a few bottles of each left and they are still drinking beautifully. Both are blends done by the Luna Vineyards. That just sets up why I broke my cardinal rule (“only buy one bottle at a time at GO”) and bought 4 bottles of their Cabernet, today, before tasting.

I can’t seem to link to the fact sheet but the 2011 Luna Cabernet is on the bottom of the page (from the Luna link at the top of this review). I’m guessing that they are showing the Black Label Reserve for the price of $60 a bottle. This red label is not shown on the site….but it does give you an idea of what their wines go for in a retail setting.

Now my question to you all…have you ever come across a GO wine that did not at all taste like it’s varietal? Like it was mis-labeled? Because I wonder if this one was…

Color: Burgundy/red, somewhat transparent.
Body: Much lighter than I would expect from a Napa Cab.
Nose: Raspberry, chocolate, floral. Really nice.
Taste: At room temp-rather tart-ish raspberry, cherry, coffee and a bit of white pepper. Very fruit forward but not a heavy, weighty Cabernet. Low acidity. Not a lot of dimensions here upon first opening so we closed it and chilled it a bit (liked it a lot better chilled, more plum notes). Moderate alcohol heat.

While this is a drinkable wine, I’m not sure where or how it will satisfy those who specifically love or are looking for a Cabernet. For a “big” Napa Cabernet lover (like myself), the body is too light, it’s too fruity and there’s not much in the way of layers of taste. For the “old country” style red wine lover, the acidity is low but the fruit is so forward that you would never mistake it for old world style either. It appears to be another Misfit Wine on the Isle of Misfit Wines of GO. Now as I said, I did buy more than one bottle so I will definitely update if that is just a freak variation.

Again, I think it’s a suitable red wine (being on the tarter/lighter side) for foods that you would normally pair Chianti or Sangiovese (it’s a lot like California Sangiovese to me, bit too dark in color though). I had to take a step back after my first taste and try to evaluate it for what it is, rather than what I think it should be; and to be honest, if I tasted this wine blind (and had to choose btw. Cab or Sangiovese) I would think it was their 2012 Sangiovese (red label…this wine tastes like how they describe that wine). It does make me honestly wonder if it was mislabeled.

Basically I have no idea how to classify this one. That’s why the review is so long. Hopefully the tasting notes will let you know if you want to try it or not.

I have to say that I was hoping for great things again from Luna and was a bit disappointed here.


10 thoughts on “2011 Luna Cabernet Sauvignon $7.99

  1. jwc

    I popped the cork on one of these tonight, ran through the vinturi into a decanter, and let sit for 2.5 hours. I’d be hard pressed to initially ID this as a cab, if tasted blind…almost merlot like aka “the soft cab” as merlot is sometimes referred to. It’s been in the decanter for over 4 hours now, there’s some dark cherry, light casis medium – full body. My take, it’s a cool weather cab sav, that’s balanced and drinkable. Really close between Thumbs Up & Drinkable…. it is better after 4 hours. For me Drinkable, with the Cab Sav’s from Chile now at GO that have more depth and flavor vs the Luna, I’ll run with those. Hard to believe I’m saying that since the owners daughter, went to our sons wedding! I can see why PW is curious about others opinions on this wine, this style may appeal to some tasters.

    1. permiesworld Post author

      JWC, did you by any chance, taste it before decanting?
      I can see where you get the merlot thing…like a WA Merlot that is lighter body (less silky) than Napa and more peppery? It does make me feel better that you wouldn’t have known it was a Cab either.

      I was expecting high things too. I am still going to try the red blend if it ever shows up here but I think I’m going to take my other Luna Cabs back, which is unusual for me. My daughter picked up the SB in one of the Idaho stores so I’m hoping to hear how that one tastes.

      1. jwc

        You know I did, only a sip. I had opened an ’07 Barnard Griffin Reserve Merlot a couple of nights ago, the Luna reminded me of that a bit….although the BG was more cab like, fuller body, complex, richer fruit, casis…so for my tastes the Luna wasn’t in the same league. I have half a bottle or so left, will see how it is tonight. I’m guessing it will be better, the wine has decent structure. My sense is the winemaker did the best he/she could, in a challenging vintage, but right now at GO, better options at more attractive price points.

  2. permiesworld Post author

    FWIW, my husband had some with dinner. I didn’t. He said that it tasted much more cab like after a couple of hours of air. Showing some green pepper in the taste as well.

    1. jwc

      PW, sounds like a cool weather cab sav, as others have mentioned. Also, as the bottle only has California on it, not sure where the grapes are from. Think I’ll let these sit for awhile, still kinda young. Appreciate the review.

  3. jimvan49

    Your review makes sense to me based on overwhelmingly negative reviews of the 2011 growing season in Napa. It makes sense that the wine would be lighter than normal in such a cool year. I may try a bottle if it appears here because I tend to find Napa cabs a bit overblown for my tastes in general (there are exceptions). Thanks for reviewing the wine!

    1. permiesworld Post author

      Hi Jimvan49, I’ve actually liked and bought quite a bit of Napa 2011 for the cellar. I know it’s been given negative reviews but there’s been a couple of Cameron Hughes wines that I’ve purchased by the case, because we loved them so much (and think they will age well). I don’t like fruit bombs. I like big rich cabernet that has balanced tastes between fruit, earth etc.

      This one is just different. I don’t dislike it, I just would never classify it as a Napa (or surrounding regions) Cab. I hope you do taste it. I’d love to hear some other opinions.


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