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Wine Review: Crash course on cabernet sauvignon

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Have you ever had a wish that came true?

Josh Cellars has released a college-like course on wine based on the cabernet sauvignon. It’s something that has been needed for centuries but no one had ever had the nerve, guts or chutzpah to present it. Cabernet sauvignon is probably the most discussed, criticized and argued over variety.

What Josh Cellars has done is to offer, at affordable prices, a library of four cabernet sauvignon wines derived from grapes drawn from several wine-making districts in California. These wines are not sold as a group but as individual bottles, making it less expensive to take “the course.” It affords an opportunity to personally detect the differences in a specific variety that the vineyard location makes.

Josh Cellars 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon ($17)
This wine has a California appellation, indicating that the grapes for the wine came from various vineyards within that state rather than one specific location. The color of this wine is deep and dark while the aroma showcases cherries, spice and vanilla. These carry over to the flavor where they mingle with a raspberry element and the very discernible flavors of blackberry cinnamon, roasted nuts and just a hint of vanilla and oak. This wine has a wonderful softness and reflects many of the flavors and aromas that are found only in well-aged wines.

Josh Cellars Reserve North Coast 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon ($22)
The grapes' North Coast birthplace endows the wine with specific and identifiable flavor and aroma characteristics. Fruit-forward and balanced, this wine is bursting with aromas of dark fruits and toasted nuts with hints of blackcurrant and rose petal. The rich flavors of dark cherries, hazelnuts, mocha and a touch of vanilla lead into a long finish.

Josh Cellars Reserve 2019 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($22)
The Paso Robles district is becoming well known for its cabernet sauvignon wines. They are noted for displaying all of the features and quality of wines selling for considerably higher prices. This is a wine that offers a deep, ruby color and the flavor of cranberries, blackberries and plums. It has a background of coffee, vanilla and oak, with a hint of mint and leather. It is a delightful wine that permits one to enjoy a high-quality cabernet sauvignon from a specific district without fracturing the budget.

Josh Cellars 2019 Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon ($22)
Aging wines in old bourbon barrels is becoming a fad among California wine makers. This wine has been aged in old bourbon casks and picks up some of the bourbon's flavor and aroma with no increase in alcohol content. This cabernet is a nice example of style and as a great accompaniment to the currently almost unaffordable heavy cuts of meat. The expected flavors and aromas of a cabernet sauvignon are there and easily observable. What the bourbon cask aging contributes to the makeup is the suggestions of oak, vanilla and caramel.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at


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