Wine Review – 1916 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Today we are reviewing a wine. I haven’t done many wine reviews on here but I’ve been asked to do more so I’ll try to make a conscious effort to do so. Today’s topic is this 1916 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon of a 2012 vintage.

This bottle I found at a local grocery store on special, but don’t let that fool you. It’s not a cheap wine by any stretch. My research has pointed to me to Espier Estate in Victoria, Australia as the mastermind behind this wine but the back of the bottle says “Our Cellars” in Hopland, CA so I’m utterly confused, as can be seen here along with the ABV. Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me  can educate me on what exactly this is.

Pours a deep red as a good Cab should. Ample lacing when swirled. Aromas of rose petals, blueberries and black cherry. The black cherry carries over into the initial attack which gives way to a jammy plum note and just a tinge of dark chocolate. Warm, peppery finish with oaky undertones and an ample amount of tannins. Medium to heavy body with a long warming aftertaste.

An excellent wine, it would go well with a heavy dinner or, as I had it for this review, paired with a full bodied Maduro cigar such as the previously reviewed Blanco Liga Exclusiva Maduro. Rating: 4.5/5.

Wine/Cigar Reviews – Stave & Steel Bourbon Barrel Cab and H&S Veiled Prophet

So today in my reviews we’re doing something a bit different – I’m reviewing a wine and a cigar. I absolutely love wine but I don’t review many wines here because I don’t feel as I have developed a super sophisticated palate for it yet but I’m learning (I’ve been drinking more and more wine lately – I find it goes very well with a cigar). Well this one is a special wine, and I’m reviewing it along with a special cigar review as well.

We’ll start with tonight’s wine.

Stave & Steel Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Bourbon barrel aged everything seems to be a fad lately so why the wine scene has not gotten into it yet I don’t know. Whatever the case, here we go. This offering from Stave & Steel retails around $15-20/bottle depending on geographic location.

Pours the deep reddish-purple color a good cab should. The nose is immediately greeted with a big whiff of smoky bourbon supported by floral notes and cherries. On the palate the bourbon is up front but not overbearing or dominating. The supporting flavors include dark chocolate, ripe cherries, mixed berries and features a smoky oak and tobacco finish with a touch of a warm vanilla aftertaste. Rich and substantial in the mouth and easy drinking.

If you like whiskey and you like wine, do yourself a favor and check this one out. It brings the two together beautifully. Pair with a hearty steak dinner or with a Habano or Maduro wrapped cigar for best results. Rating: 4.75/5.

And now for a truly special cigar pick:

Hiram and Solomon Veiled Prophet

The cream-of-the-crop stick in the Hiram and Solomon line by Blanco Cigars, this stick comes in one size (a whopping 7″ x 60RG “Grand Monarch” vitola) and features a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper and an undisclosed binder and long fillers.

First light revealed a perfect draw producing plumes of thick, chewy medium-full bodied smoke containing notes of a sweet creamy leather, nuts and a peppery but not overbearing retrohale.

Getting into the first third the pepper dials back a bit allowing a bright, aromatic cedar to join the retrohale and bringing in a rich, sweet caramel onto the draw. The flavors remained largely consistent into the 2nd third but with an added level of complexity as a bright, light roast coffee joins the mix. A very long 2 hour and 15 minute smoke surprisingly only a mild/medium nicotine strength by the end of it (ending with around 2″ to go; if you like the hot nub you can easily get almost 3 hours out of it).

Construction was what I will call excellent. It did have some of the characteristic burn issues found in 60 ring gauge cigars and required occasional touch-ups. It did also prefer to be double-puffed for the first third or so as more airflow was needed to generate smoke than I had in my mouth, but these were small things and definitely worth the flavor package.

This would make a lovely after dinner or special occasion smoke. Would pair well with almost any drink you throw at it, but just make sure you have ample time to sit down and enjoy it. Rating: 4.75/5.

That’s a wrap for today. Hope you enjoyed this special edition of my reviews. Let me know what you thought!

A Little Look at My “Wineador”

With the hot Texas summers keeping cigars in optimal shape is a real challenge. Humidity isn’t such an issue if you’re like me and use tupperware containers as opposed to wooden humidors but temperature is the killer. Unless you want an insane electric bill keeping your house air conditioned at or below 70 degrees, you’re risking mold and beetles just leaving them out and about in your house.

So for the past couple of summers I’ve kept my cigars at the office where the A/C is set that low for the benefit of everyone who has to wear PPE. I knew my cigars would be safe there but I kind of got tired of doing that and having to pull cigars for the evenings/weekends. I wanted all my cigars accessible at home, so that’s when I decided I would get a thermoelectric wine refrigerator to store them in. It’s a little hack that has literally taken the cigar world by storm (in various capacities) so this just seemed like it’s what I needed.

So I took to looking at wine refrigerators and lo and behold the tiny ones weren’t much cheaper than a large-ish 28 count refrigerator with removable racks. I figured what the hell, might as well just get the big one and do double duty with it. I like red wines too and the ideal serving temperature for those is about 65 degrees F (18 degrees C) – which is perfect for storing cigars too, albeit a bit on the cool side but not cool enough to negatively impact them. Found a great deal on such at Wayfair and pulled the trigger.

So now, I have my tupperdors of cigars as well as some wine in it. It’s turned out to be a handy little appliance. Every cigar I’ve smoked out of it has burned, smoked and tasted as it should so the slightly cool storage temp hasn’t seemed to affect it at all. For those wondering, each one of my tupperdors are Dollar Tree specials and hold about 50 cigars depending on vitola and each one has two 60g 69% Boveda packs. Of course, if you’re the traditionalist you can put cedar shelves/drawers in and have your humidity source loose in the refrigerator but many find it harder to maintain the humidity that way.

Nonetheless, this is what it looks like right now, but the contents are surely to expand in the near future.

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So yes, if you are a cigar lover and live in a hot climate, definitely get you a wine refrigerator and convert it into a “wineador.” It’ll make your life so much easier. If you enjoy wine that’s even better as you can use one appliance for both purposes. I must say I’m happy with the results.

Beer/Wine Review: Adelbert’s Tripel B & Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon

In an interesting variation of my tobacco & alcohol reviews I have a wine to review. I usually don’t drink a whole super lot of wine but I got some in this case because of the particular cigar I was wanting to pair with it. Lo and behold it turned out to be a spectacular pairing (and I’ve already reviewed the cigar I paired with it – the LFD La Nox – review here), but I figured I’d review the wine I wound up selecting to pair with it.

We’ll start with our beer selection, however.

Adelbert’s Tripel B

This bottle-conditioned Belgian Tripel hails from Adelbert’s Brewery in Austin, Texas. It weighs in at 9.3% ABV and has an unspecified IBU and gravity. That doesn’t stop it from being a tasty example of the style.

Pours a hazy orange/gold color. A thin, frothy off-white head sticks around and leaves some lacing. Aromas of wheat, malt, banana and a touch of spice greet the nose. Flavors of fruity banana esters, honey and wheat malt greet the palate immediately followed by the typical Belgian yeasty quality. Tart finish with a subtle spicy bitterness akin to grains of Paradise. Masks the ABV well. Medium to thick body with substantial carbonation. Drinks very easily for its ABV and style.

Overall a tasty Tripel and one I would drink again. Is it the best example of the style? No, but still good enough nonetheless. Rating: 4.25/5.

Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon

As mentioned, I’m not a huge wine drinker but when the mood strikes it’s nothing for me to kill a full bottle. Federalist Wines come to us from Sonoma County, California. When I do drink wine I tend to prefer full-bodied reds with a particular liking for Cab. This particular wine weighs in at 14.9% ABV and this wine, while being rather different from most Cabs, did not disappoint and it sure went well with the LFD La Nox.

The pour is a medium burgundy color. Swirling the glass leaves substantial lacing on the sides of the glass. Slight floral aroma with undertones of dark fruit and a hint of spice. The flavor consists of a distinct fruitiness with components of mixed berry, plum and “jamminess.” A slight spice and floral note on the finish without the excessive amount of bitter tannins sometimes found in the style. Fairly thick on the mouthfeel and a smooth but long finish.

Though not the typical affair for a Cabernet Sauvignon this was a really tasty wine. This would be one for even non-red drinkers to like. it’s exceptionally smooth and tasty and would be a great pairing for a variety of different dishes as well as a wonderful pairing for the cigar I had with it. Just about anyone would like this wine. Rating: 4.25/5.