Susana Balbo Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Susana Balbo's 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Signature contains 5% Malbec. It was sourced from 31-year-old ungrafted vines and spent 15 months in 80% new French oak before bottling without fining or filtration. Medium purple in color, it sports an inviting nose of pain grille, pencil lead, spice box, violets, black currant and blackberry. Medium-bodied, supple-textured, layered, and spicy on the palate, it has excellent volume, savory flavors, and impeccable balance. Give this lengthy Cabernet another 2-3 years of cellaring and drink it from 2012 to 2023.
Bright ruby-red. Blueberry, cassis, menthol and mineral aromas lifted by spices and flowers; rather Bordeaux-like. Sexy and sweet in the middle but with firm acidity keeping the blackberry, menthol and spicy oak flavors under wraps today. This juicy, firmly built wine finishes with a serious backbone of tannins and acids. Its spine and restrained aromatics suggest holding it for two or three years of further development in bottle. An impressively energetic and classy cabernet sauvignon for this moderate price. Susana Balbo works with older vines and lower yields, preferring to use a relatively warm, extractive fermentation to make wines that will age; the wines she crafts under the BenMarco label are more user-friendly and designed for earlier consumption.
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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration...
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes referred to as the “king” of red grapes. It can be somewhat unapproachable early in its youth but has the potential to age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more at its best. Small berries and tough skins provide its trademark firm tannic grip, while high acidity helps to keep the wine fresh for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region (and in St-Emillion and Pomerol, where it plays a supporting role to Merlot). The top Médoc producers use Cabernet Sauvignon for their wine’s backbone, blending it with Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot. On its own, Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin, and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice, and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb, and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.