Tag Archives: Cabernet

A Study in Wine — Cabernet Sauvignon

Which Wine Is Right for You?

This is the first in a series of blogs that will focus solely on a different grape variety. Each blog will answer five basic questions that I am asked every day about the wine, including what it tastes like, what to pair it with and which ones are my favorite. Hopefully, you will learn something you didn’t know about the wine and give it a chance! My first in the series starts with my personal favorite grape variety, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon


What is it?

Cabernet Sauvignon – It’s hard to believe that the reigning king of grapes is a hybrid. Cabernet Sauvignon is the product of proud parents Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. It has kept the title of king because of its longevity, powerful richness and depth.

Where does is grow?

Some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon comes from France, where it is almost always blended with Merlot and other Bordeaux varietals, including Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The French believe that the hearty tannic structure of Cabernet Sauvignon marries well with the soft, supple qualities of Merlot. In California, however, with its long, warm growing season, Cabernet Sauvignon (though often blended) shines very well on its own.

Because of its thick, resilient skin, Cabernet Sauvignon can be found all over the world. Italy, Chile, Australia and Washington all have some world-class Cabernets. Cab, as it’s often called, grows well in areas with lots of warmth, sunlight and a long growing season.

What does it taste like?

The primary fruit flavors found in Cab are cassis (black currants), blackberry, black cherry and plum. Non-fruit flavors are sage, anise and eucalyptus. Oak aging lends cedar, vanilla and toasty oak flavors.

What do I pair it with?

Cabernet Sauvignon has a lot of tannin. Tannin dries your mouth, making it feel a bit sand-papery. If you eat something with a high fat content, like cheese or steak, it coats your mouth, softening the tannic sensation, leaving only the rich flavors above on your tongue.

Cab is a big, bold wine that can stand up to all sorts of flavorful foods. Cheeses that pair well are aged Gouda, Gorgonzola and sharp Cheddar. Stay away from intensely spicy food since the high tannin and spicy characteristics will be overblown and clash.

Which are your favorites?

  • Terra Noble Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua, Chile 2008 $17.99

Blended with 10-percent Carmenere for a spicy kick, this cab has cherry and blackberry flavors, with violets and tobacco on the finish.

  • Dessert Wind Cabernet Sauvignon Wahluke Slope, Washington 2009 $16.99

Spicy cedar and cherry on the nose. Rich and complex with licorice, plums and blackberry, this wine is very well structured.

  • Meyer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, California  2006 $42.99

World-renowned winemaker Mark Harold has put his mark on this delicious Cab. A California Cab in every sense, it has a rich and concentrated color, with black flowers on the nose. A soft and silky mouth feel and loads of ripe blackberry and cassis lead to a long finish, with hints of cocoa and cigar box.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a bold, flavorful wine that has won the hearts of many wine drinkers. Even though I love all types of wine, I always go back to Cab. I hope you learned a little about Cabernet Sauvignon and will try out some my favorites!


– Jennifer Laurie

Valentine Wines & Pairings: Spiriti d’Amore

I have a confession. I am a Valentine’s Day nut!

During this “Hallmark holiday” you will see me adorned in pinks, purples and reds trying to spread my love of wine, beer, and spirits throughout the aisles of Nino’s. As many of you already know, I will use any excuse to drink bubbly wine, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Rosés from Mumm Napa, Louis Barthelemy, and Mawby are among my favorites. However, I am not going to bore you with another Bubble-headed article. Whether you’re looking to pair up surf and turf, Chinese take out, or just having a nightcap, here are my picks for a wonderful Valentine’s Day meal…


While I was chatting with the Seafood guys here, it became clear that folks like to cook up a lot of shellfish for the holiday. For crustaceans like lobster and crab legs I recommend a medium bodied white.

La Cana Albariño 2009, Rias Baixas, Spain $15.99 –

Albariño is a Chameleon in the wine world. While at dinner with my family, my Mother-in-Law exclaimed it tasted like Chardonnay, my Mother said Riesling, and my Hubby said Sauvignon Blanc! I just said it tasted delicious with my Pop’s seafood linguini! Fruity pineapple, bright citrus, and a dry cleansing finish.

Jean Reverdy La Reine Blanche Sancerre 2009, Loire, France $24.99 –

Floral and elegant, Jean Reverdy Sancerre has a touch of minerality that lends to a complex midpalate. White flowers, ripe melon, and white peaches round out the flavors.

Domaine De L’Aurière Muscadet Survre et Maine 2009, Loire, France 10.99 –

The minerality in Muscadet makes it a perfect pairing for oysters. A bit rounder with more melon flavors than most Muscadets, this is a good introduction to the grape Melon de Bourgogne.


Whether you brave the cold for your beloved and grill some Delmonico’s, or pan sear some filet mignon, our butcher shop has the best prime cuts in town. Try out some Zip Sauce to really add a loving touch!

Garacha De Fuego 2009, Calatayud, Spain $8.99 –

Set the night on fire with this spicy Garnacha from Spain! Bold flavors of cooked plums and ripe black cherries make it the perfect complement to Lamb Chops or Filet Mignon.

Summers Andriana’s Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley, California $22.99 –

This Nino’s Favorite just received 90 points from Robert Parker who said the bouquet exhibits sweet black cherries, plums, earth and spice. I would have to agree. I found that even after aeration the tannins were firm, making this wine a good gift for the wine geek in your life, since they can lay it down for a few years.

Caliterra Tributo Carmenère 2008 Colchagua, Chile $16.99 –

Established in 1996, Caliterra started as a partnership between the Robert Mondavi Family and Vina Errazuriz. Their intent was to showcase the intense fruit and complexity that wines from this region could yield. This Carmenère is a terrific example of just that. It has hints of blueberry, white pepper, and spice box with a creamy mouth-feel and silky tannins.

Hooray Beer!

There are times when I find beer fits the bill better than wine. Right now we have a couple of Craft beers that are good as gifts, or for enjoying on a special evening.

Bell’s Hopslam $17.99 6pk –

Sweet and floral, this takes the term Hoppy to the next level. Brewed with 6 different Hop varieties, Hopslam is well balanced with honey, apricot and grapefruit flavors. Try this with beer battered cod, pork chops, or pan-seared scallops. Perfect for the Hophead in your life!

Atwater Cherry Stout $9.49 6pk –

Made with cherry concentrate from Michigan Montmorency Cherries, this rich and dark stout is a great complement for a steak or for dessert!


Our Bakery is filled to the brim with heart shaped cookies, cakes and treats! Here are my picks for drinks to go with dessert or stand alone as a night topper!

Piece of Cake Liqueurs $19.99 – Support the economy by buying Michigan made Piece of Cake Spirits! These liqueurs come in Chocolate, Pineapple Upside-down, and Strawberry Shortcake. Though the Chocolate has been the most popular, my favorite is the Strawberry.

Sweet Bliss Red, White, and Rose, Washington $9.99 –

For those of you with a sweet tooth these new wines from Washington fit the bill! With fun labels that describe what the wines taste like; chocolate covered cherries for the red, caramel apple for the white and strawberries and crème for the rose, these wines are terrific as a sip-able dessert!

anCnoc 12 year Scotch $39.46 –

I am in love. Yes, with my husband, Rob, but also with this 12 year old scotch. This is a Highland (Speyside to be specific) Single Malt that’s nose is intoxicating with honeyed citrus. On the pallet there are notes of orange blossom, honey, and slight smoke making this a charming and drinkable scotch. A great gift!

I hope this article helps you find the perfect gift or accompaniment to a romantic dinner at home this Valentine’s Day!


– Jennifer Laurie

Value Wines: Rutherford Ranch Reserve

Rutherford Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

REG – $59.99

NOW – $29.99

About two weeks ago one of my distributors came to me with a terrific deal.  I could sell a $60 bottle of Rutherford Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon for $30.  I had never really carried the Rutherford Ranch line before, but I’d always heard good things about the wines and this seemed like a deal that I couldn’t pass up.  I was still a bit skeptical.  I’m well aware of the “California Wine Glut” and have already taken advantage of these types of deals, but the proof is in the pudding right?  To be sure, I had to try the wine.  Later that night I while enjoying a bacon wrapped fillet, I found out that absolutely nothing was wrong with this wine – in fact, it was delicious!  Big, ripe raspberry fruit was the first thing I tasted, and as the wine developed, flavors of chocolate cake rounded out the finish.  The 2 years of French Barrel oak aging are apparent in the rich vanillin nuances and silky tannins. We got in 10 six packs of this “half-off” gem, and they are flying fast!

Value Wines: Cabernet, Riesling, Pinot Grigio

Spring is finally here! At our Nino’s in Troy store we have opened up the garage doors and the fresh air is energizing!    The Easter Bunny will be hopping into town soon and I am hoping for a basket full of great wine deals. This week’s Marketplace Specials are an exciting mix of old and new that will pair well with your Easter meals.

Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Everyday: $16.99

Bright purple in color, this wine really surprised me.  It is a popular item and upon re-tasting it I can see why.  The nose had lovely red and black fruit with a touch oak. Ripe and full bodied with well integrated oak and soft tannins. Lamb or Horseradish slathered prime rib would be my pick for this bold yet elegant cab.

Kallfelz Single Vineyard Kabinett Riesling 2007

Everyday: $14.99       Marketplace Special: $4.99

Three generations of the Kallfelz family have strived to produce quality Riesling from the Mosel area in Germany. The 2007 Kabinett Riesling is no exception. The color is star bright and clear. Bright notes of grapefruit and lime zest on the nose, this wine expresses sweet ripe peach and candied lime with a crisp refreshing finish. Pair this zippy white with your Easter ham!

Albino Armani Pinot Grigio 2007

Everyday: $14.99       Marketplace Special: $9.99

For 400 years the vineyards of Albino Armani have stayed family owned and grown.  Out of the Alto Adige region of Northern Italy they make an outstanding Pinot Grigio.  Silky and rich, this wine shows how complex a white wine can be.  Ripe pear and apple are followed by a palate cleansing finish. This wine a perfect aperitif or compliment to light pasta or chicken dishes.