cabernet sauvignon

Good Wine Under $20: Cabernet Sauvignon

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Keeping things simple with an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon

At GWU$20, it’s back to school time, which means my life is busier than normal as I adjust to the new routines and rhythms of the semester. It’s important to remember to keep things simple and light during times like this, or the tension will get to you. So that’ll be the focus of my blog entries this week.

Keeping it simple when it comes to wine doesn’t imply settling for a bland or dull representation of a grape. But it also means not spending a lot of money, not stressing about whether this is the best “X” you’ve ever had, and not trying to impress your friends and family with something incredibly intricate and worthy of three hours of wine geek discussion. Keeping it simple means finding a decent wine at a reasonable price and drinking it while having fun.

If you want to keep things simple, Cabernet Sauvignon may seem the incorrect choice, but this bottle may convince you otherwise. The 2008 McWilliam’s Cabernet Sauvignon Hanwood Estate grapes come from South Eastern Australia. (Suggested retail is $11; many markets have it for under $10) For the price, this is a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon that tastes like Cabernet rather than just “red wine.” Red currants, blackberries, and white pepper dominate the aroma and flavor characteristics. When I first opened it, I smelled a tinge of green pepper, which I adore, but this scent immediately faded. Very nice value for a bottle that will remind you how good Cabernet can be when the producer doesn’t overthink the test question and instead lets the juice speak for itself.

The wine’s silky tannins make it a terrific match for grilled meats, but it can also handle eggplant, overpowering a lesser wine. If you’re seeking a delicious vegetarian option to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon or similarly tannic grapes, try this zesty pasta dish with grilled marinated eggplant.