I find California Cabernet Sauvignon a delight to drink, but we don’t consume it very often at home. I tend to cook fish, chicken and pork during the week, which results in choosing a lighter-bodied and less tannic—or white—wine as a pairing. Plus, many of the Napa Cabs we store are too expensive for the casual mid-week imbibe. Maybe by the time I retire, I will have stockpiled enough Napa Cab in my future cellar that I can be more carefree about pulling one when I like, but for now, $60 bottles are for very special occasions.
This year for V-Day, my husband—who hates to cook—decided that for his annual battle with the kitchen (reserved for special occasions such as this), he would sacrifice a feta and red pepper stuffed beef tenderloin roast. Time would tell if my service as reserve sous chef would be called upon (this was usually indicated by swearing and dirty looks directed at the meat); meanwhile, I took the opportunity to relax and open a 2008 CADE Napa Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon I had picked up last summer, direct from the gorgeous winery perched on the side of Howell Mountain.
My eye candy quota is filled by the delightfully vibrant ruby-red core and magenta rim of the wine. The ambrosial nose beckons for a deeper sniff of cassis and sweet black fruit, and my first sip reveals a more feminine, less muscular palate than Cade’s Howell Mountain cousins. A concentrated collection of black raspberry, blueberry and blackberry fruit is laced with wintry baking spices, cocoa powder and the slightest hint of leather. Plush tannins linger on the long finish, and are perfectly paired with a bite of juicy, medium-rare steak, compliments of the chef.