• Two Thumbs Way Up
• Initially a bit closed, but opened to reveal aromas of dark berry fruit, violets, spicy cinnamon and touch of chocolate. Flavors mirrored the nose with abundant ripe fruit qualities supported by firm-but-approachable tannins and notes of clove, new leather and cola nut.
Lately, my mind and palate have been thinking of the opulent cabernet sauvignons of Napa Valley. For weeks, I wrestled with a celebrity chef to get him to give a seminar with me at the Taste of Atlanta Festival in October. The topic? Napa cabs and steaks.
Since I’m not a name-dropper, I can’t tell you that the chef in question is Kevin Rathbun, who is famously overcommitted and a pretty good wrestler. He also knows a thing or two about steaks.
After Kevin finally yielded to my persistence to do the seminar (and after I agreed to clean out the grease trap of his Krog St. restaurant for the next four months), I took a gander at my wall of wines looking for something from Napa. And there, sitting quietly, with just a little dust on it, I spied a Freemark Abbey cabernet sauvignon.
During its long history, Freemark Abbey has had more lives than a cat in a violin string factory. More recently, the St. Helena landmark winery has been on an upswing since its purchase in 2005 by the Jackson Family Wines. At least that is what I’ve heard. I haven’t really tried Freemark Abbey in long time. The last time I really gave Freemark a thought was about 10 years ago during a vertical tasting going back through the vintages of 1980s. I was not impressed. There were more missteps than winners.
Nevertheless and quite coincidently on the day of its 125th Anniversary party in July, I poured myself a glass of the 2007 cab and swirled away. At first, it seemed a little awkward, but what eventually emerged was a beautiful, multi-layered, balanced example of why so many people make a big deal about Napa wines.
As it can be with wine seminars with A-list chefs, good things come to those who wait.
Gil Kulers is a certified wine educator and a wine consultant for Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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