HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Biltmore Cabernet Sauvignon, American (69% California, 31% North Carolina), NV.* 13.9% alcohol. $14.99 on the Biltmore Web site; $11.99 at our local ABC store.

* The vintage is 2008. However, wines labeled with an “American” appellation are, by law, not permitted to carry a vintage date on the label.

Oh, wow. What a delicious wine. And what an interesting story behind it.

First, it’s a Cabernet Sauvignon, “blended with a touch of Syrah and Zinfandel.” That explains the complexity, and the Zin explains why it is so incredibly smooth. In fact, beware: it’s SO smooth, you’ll find it easy to guzzle. Remember, as always, to swish and chew—the increased yield of flavors, scents, and sensations is worth the effort. Some wines are “chewy” by nature, but smooth ones like this are well worth the extra attention.

Second, the grapes for this one originated from both ends of the country: California (Alexander Valley, Mendocino, Monterey, Sonoma), 69%; and North Carolina, 31% (hence the “American” appellation).

In fact, according to the Biltmore Web site, the most visited winery in the U.S. isn’t located in Napa Valley, “it’s at Biltmore in the mountains of North Carolina, where approximately 1 million visitors stop by to sample award-winning estate wines each year. … The first vineyards at Biltmore were established in 1971 .… French-American hybrids were planted initially, with vinifera plantings following in a few years. Inspired after several years of experimenting, William A.V. Cecil, then president and owner of Biltmore, decided that a winery was the natural outcome of ongoing research and a logical extension of his grandfather’s intention that the estate be self-supporting. … Bill Cecil, Jr., current President and CEO of The Biltmore Company [says,] ‘North Carolina is gaining a reputation for producing quality wines and we hope to continue to lead the charge in educating wine enthusiasts and novices alike about what our state has to offer.’”

Besides Biltmore, the winery produces the Antler Hill wines. The winery has 57,000 vines on 94 acres, and yields 250 tons of grapes annually, all hand-picked. They grow Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

LABEL NOTES: American Cabernet Sauvignon. Savor the heritage of Biltmore Wines: inspired by a legacy of taste and style, crafted to make every meal feel like a celebration. Smooth and fruity, this medium-bodied wine pairs well with hearty beef stew, meatloaf, hamburgers, and luscious chocolate.

Gold, 2009 N.C. State Fair Wine Competition
Gold, 2008 North Carolina State Fair
Gold, 2007 New World International Wine Competition

Bottled: September 15, 2010
pH: 3.59
TA: 0.54
Residual Sugar: 0.4%
Alcohol: 13.9%
Cellar Practices: Juice is fermented in contact with the skins allowing for proper color and flavor development. After fermentation, the wine is pressed and transferred to French and American oak barrels and aged 8-12 months.
Color: Dark cherry
Nose: Cherries, black currant, vanilla, and rosemary
Taste: Nicely balanced, soft tannins, medium-bodied, round and fruity


This entry was posted in American Appellation, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, North Carolina, Syrah/Shiraz. Bookmark the permalink.

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