Saturday, February 16, 2008

Twelve Under $12: Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon

Our fourth installment in my "Under $12" series led me to Chile in search of discount Cabernet Sauvignon. Sitting next to the Carmen Chardonnay that I have praised in the past, I thought I'd use that positive experience to lead me to a cheapo New World Cab.

Ruby red in the glass, the 2005 Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon was all wet gravelly and earthy on the nose, some blackberry, and nice green peppery notes with very little oak. Definitely not an oaky/jammy New World cab on the palate, it showed good acidity, coarse tannins and subdued fruit. A short finish, and a bit rough around the edges, but a maybe just a step above the average Vin de Table - nicely done.
cork. 13.5% alcohol
Score: 14.5/20
Price: C$11.60 (SAQ)


Marcus said...

Had the Cono Sur CS/Carmenere organic bottle. The room was split. I liked it a lot and thought it was useful blend, savoury and balanced enough for dinnertime. Other said barnyard.

A lot of the Chilean style is love em or hate em -- perhaps yours was more middle of the road. I think I tried it recently and can't recall one way of the other -- middle of the road!

Fadi said...

Hi Joe. We're all looking for value and under 12$ it's hard to find, especially with Canadian pricing. Have you tried box wines? Yes, I said the awful "B" word!! Few months ago I found in my fridge a 4 pack (13% alcohol; 4x187.5 ml; 9.99$ from Provigo) box Spanish wine from "Bistro Mundo". I asked my wife about it and she said that she uses this wine for cooking, especially because of the convenient 187.5 ml format!. That night we were having a cheap pizza (you know, grocery kind grapped after a busy day) and I wanted to drink a glass of vino but my wife was not in the mood and I did not want to pop a fresh bottle in the middle of the week just for myself!. So I found myself gravitating towards the 4 pack Bistro Mundo wanting to try for fun this wine and expecting to chuck it right away into the sink. Well to my surprise, this Spanish non-vintage wine (labeled varietal wine) was indeed drinkable and pleasant!! The nose was aromatic and the color dar red and the finish was ok. The fruit was good with flavors of sour cherry, strawberries and subtle oak!! It could have fooled me easily as a 15-18$ Spanish or Cali wine!!! If I am to rate it I'd say a solid 86-87 pt wine (maybe 14 on your scale)!!. Since then I have in my cellar few 4 packs of this wine for those odd weekdays where you do not have a drinking partner. The 187.5 ml format is great as it could make 2 small glasses or a 1 large glass. It's also available in 1L (11-12$, but have not tried that). The Portuguese equivalent of this wine was not good though. So at 2.5$ / 187.5ml, I think the Bistro Mundo from Spain is worth a try...
Cheers and good luck with the value hunt,

David said...

I'm always looking for something good in this price range, thanks! Recent find here at under $10 actually is the 2006 "Wrongo Dongo" a red Jumilla. Decanted a bit it's a nice match for a simple winter supper.

Joe said...

Marcus - Never had that Cono Sur. I think Chileans are more barnyard-y than California, Australia - hence the appeal with me.

Fadi - I was hoping I didn't have to drink a box wine, but I might given your recommendation. I have a few more to go - I will look for the Bistro Mundo.

David - it's been fun. The Dongo isn't here, but I will keep my eyes out for it when I travel.