Domestic Selection: Cabernet Sauvignon, 1986, Vanino

What do you get when you cross an entrepreneur and a nego­ciant? Vanino Wine Cellars.

Steve Vagnino (drop the g for pronunciation) decided while in a hospital bed in 1985 that he was going into the wine business. What is interesting is that Steve is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and when he found out how much vineyard land costs in California he figured “he might as well try and buy the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team I got more realistic and said if I am going to do this (go into the wine business) then I’d better work backwards using my advertising background to de­velop the label, promote it, and sell it ” Vagnino says. So what the St. Louis based TV commercial pro­ducer did was to become a nego­ciant: One who buys grapes and juice from growers and finishes the wine to his specifications. Now…we have a Missouri based negociant buying California juice for the mid-west market. Current­ly, the wines are marketed in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Kan­sas City, and St. Louis.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the no­ble grape from Bourdeaux. A va­riety that grows successfully all over the world. Europe, North America, South America and Aus­tralia are all regions of the world where the grape can grow and make exceptional wine. Being high in acid and tannin, wines made of Cabernet mature slowly, but retain their quality for many years, com­plexing all the while.

Our selection is an interesting blend of hillside grapes grown in both the Napa and Sonoma coun­ties. The Napa grapes (60%) from 4 different vineyards contribute the depth and the fruit to the wine. The Sonoma Alexander Valley grapes (40%) contribute the spice and eu­calyptus nuances. There is also 3% Cabernet Franc (part of the Napa 60%) to add a nice long finish.

This wine starts with a deep purplish red color then to an in­tense peppery bouquet, with a hint of fruit aroma still coming through, good varietal representa­tion. A rich Cabernet flavor taste with lots of fruit. A berry accent. The middle is laced with tannin but well balanced. Serve at room tem­perature with a joint of beef or Stil­ton cheese after the meal. Would compliment a rack of Lamb nicely.

Cellaring Notes: Will continue to smooth 3-4 years. Track the tan­nin and fruit.

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