Federal Wine & Spirits

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This Week's Tasting

Cabernet & Friends
February 20, 2019

This week some of the best reasonably priced Cabernets and Cabernet blends in arecent tastings. They come from four continents but have a common theme of balance and intriguing subtlety.




Consultant Paul Holmes brought his magic touch to the 2015 Nieto Senetiner Blend. The country is Argentina and the Cabernet is Franc, Sauvignon’s aromatic parent.  AddedMalbec to it, with a peppery dash of Petit Verdot, it makes a tasty blend at a very reasonable price.

Cabernet Franc is the grape of Chinon in France’s Loire  Valley. Most you see herearehave the brashness of youth Couly-Dutheuilsent us a library release aged in its cellar. At the age of 16, endowed with some wood aging it has become soft, sweet and mellow. It is also very reasonably priced for a wine with its age and maturity.

Morgenster is located in the southern, cooler  part of South Africa’s Stellenbosch region. Their Lourens River Valley red is a blend of half Cabernet Franc and a third Merlot accented by Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. We found it intriguing on first taste and it continued to dance on the palate for several tastes after. Nine years of age have brought its elements together but not made it lose any energy.

The Ehret family owns prime vineyards in Knights Valley, a part of Sonoma that is nigh unto Napa. Their 2011  Knights ValleyCabernetis as finely modulated a Cabernet as we have had from Napa at anywhere near its price. Both rich and smooth, it will satisfy Bordeaux fans as well as fans of Napa Cabernet.

Two Cabernets of more youthful vigor.The 2016 Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon is Ch√Ęteau Ste. Michelle’s Columbia Valley offering that is more powerful than their more usual blends. All blackberry and cedar, it is mouth-filling and intense. It lingers long on the palate.

The 2016 Hess Cabernet Sauvignon Allomi Napais something more complex then their normal blends. From mountain vineyards blended with valley fruit, with an admixture of Malbec and Petit Verdot, it is subtly complex in both flavor and texture.



2015 Nieto Senetiner Blend Collection; Color: medium dark; Aroma: heady earth, rather softly woody, earthy, nutty  Mouth: clean rather forward, fleshy, juicy, bright fruit, herbal nuttiness Very Good Plus 15.99; Mixed Case, 14.39; Case, 13.59

2002 Couly-Dutheuil Chinon Baronnie Madelaine; Aroma: light, sweet oak, rather clean,  herbal firm, pretty nutty ; Mouth: rather soft rich, smooth, thick textured, nice acid underpinning, very herbal, fine acid at the end; Very Good Plus 28.99; Mixed Case, 26.09; Case, 24.64

2010 Morgenster Lourens River Valley Red; Color: medium dark rather dense; Aroma: heady sweet clean, cleanrather herbal clean, lightly pretty, heady fine acidity, rather firm Mouth: clean spicy acid, pretty, fine and bright, medium bodied,long; Very Good - Excellent 19.99; Mixed Case, 17.99; Case, 16.99

2011 Ehret Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley; Color: medium dark brown; Aroma: sweet smooth rather dense, fleshy, lightly herbal, pretty; Mouth: clean ripe fine acid mature, beveled tannins, fine on the finish, long; Very Good - Excellent32; Mixed Case, 28.8; Case, 27.2


Youthful Vigor

2016 Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon; Aroma: heady rather dense, full blackberry cedar notes; Mouth: sweet forward clean, smooth textured, ripe acid, forward, juicy medium bodied; young & vibrant; Very Good Plus21; Mixed Case, 18.9; Case, 17.85

2016 Hess Cabernet Sauvignon AllomiNapa; Aroma: ripe heady earthy, reserved, stony note; Mouth: chocolate note over bright fruit & acid, clean racy fine, herbal notes sweet full long; Very Good Plus 34; Mixed Case, 30.6; Case, 28.9


2-20 Case: Special, two each of the above wines - $259

In-store only 2-20 Pack: Special, one each of the above wines - $137


mix any 6- 111 wines for 10% off

any 12 or more for 15% off


Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: order@federalwine.com


Please pass this on to any friends who are wine enthusiasts!


           - Len Rothenberg