Stan The Wine Man TV: Episode 53

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2011 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon

I know I am the blue-collar wine guy, and that I am bent on taking the “snob” out of wine. However, that does not mean that I would pass on an opportunity to taste a wine that is highly rated, just because I could not afford it myself. First and foremost, I love wine and am always curious how a wine will show whether it is a thousand bucks a bottle or ten. So when my phone rang and my good friend said he had some Screaming Eagle for me to try, I jumped at the opportunity (wouldn’t you?).

Dionysus is a friend of mine that is one of the most generous souls I have met. He loves to share, especially when it comes to wine. He recently saved a couple of glasses of 2011 Screaming Eagle Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for one of his trusted employees (the friend who called me), who in turn shared it with me. I have had a few opportunities to taste various vintages of this highly rated cab only because Dionysus was willing to share. I would not have turned those opportunities down in a million years. I may be a blue-collar wine guy, but I understand that there are many great wines out there that I will never get to try, unless someone shares.

The 2011 Screaming Eagle Cab is the best Eagle I have tasted to date. The other vintages were very good, but in my humble opinion were not worth the price tag. The ’11 Eagle is stunning, I can think of no better descriptor. A bouquet of violets, rose petals, currants, red cherries and minerals. On the palate, the acidity is the backbone of the wine, driving the notes of currants, red cherries, violets, rose petals and earth notes. This is a complex wine expressing what a Cab can be in a most exquisite way. It is very drinkable now (with generous decanting) but will age nicely over the next twenty years. Balanced, seamless, complex and layered.

The 2011 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon landed in the sweet spot of my palate and despite the price tag, I believe it is one of the best I have tasted in a long time. Thank you Dionysus (and your trusted employee) for being willing to share such an incredible wine.

Stan The Wine Man

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I subscribe to “James The Wine Guy” on Youtube, because he has pumped out a serious amount of wine review videos, and he is fun to watch (and a little funny). However, recently he put out a video in which he declares that he has never used the word “rounded” in his wine descriptors and he doesn’t understand what is being conveyed when other wine critics, or writers use this term. After watching it, I sort of understand his dilemma, although I have to say that it is an easier term to understand than he is claiming.

What is meant by rounded when describing a wine? Think about the opposite of rounded…It’s angular. When a wine is angular, it has sharp edges to it. The acids are high and the flavors take sharp turns (or angles) in your mouth. It has evident contrasts in flavors that take immediate shifts on your palate.

However, think of rounded as softer changes of flavors in the mouth. Instead of angles, it has curves and rounded edges that are not as easily noticed as changes. Some may use the word voluptuous, seamless or sexy, as a way to describe a wine that is full-bodied with a less angular feel on the palate. It doesn’t mean flabby, it means smooth and structured. Think about a corner in the road that is a 90 degree turn versus a 30 degree turn. One is sudden and abrupt whereas the other is easy to navigate. Wine can be the same way in the mouth.

Tannins can either be sharp and abrasive, like a 90 degree turn or approachable (rounded) like a wider, easier to navigate turn. Some prefer rounded wines, some prefer angular and some prefer something in the middle. That being said, using the word “rounded” in a wine descriptor is totally understandable and makes sense. Some writers will use this descriptor on specific aspects of wine, such as the tannins or acidity. Either way, what is being conveyed is a wine that is both smooth and structured at the same time.

Stan The Wine Man

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On episode 50, I have an excellent interview with Kurt Johnson

Director of sales and marketing for Beaux Freres Winery out of Willamette Valley, Oregon

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