Artan Reserve 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Limestone Coast
I have not drunk Cabernet Sauvignon for many years because this grape was one which caused me frustration and paved my road to study wine in more depth. I found it to be delicious before food but disappointing with and after food. In past years, I would buy Cabernet Sauvignon to pair with a traditional roast dinner. However, unbeknown to me the tannin was medium and could not stand up to all the flavours and fat of a roast. I didn’t know why the wine changed so dramatically when food was added.
The Artan Reserve 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is from Australia and is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from vineyards on the south coast of Australia. I prefer wines where the grapes are grown in cooler climates and although Australia can be very hot the cool breeze from the sea enables the grapes to ripen more slowly which results in wines lighter in body with medium tannin and which exhibit red fruit, rather than dark fruit and high tannin.
I decanted the wine for an hour. The nose straight from the bottle was harsh and lacked character, with slight blueberry. After an hour in the decanter it was more pleasant, though nothing special. The blueberry was accompanied by a hint of blackcurrant on the nose. On the palate it was shockingly smooth, herbaceous, interesting and very nice indeed. I was struck by violet, mint and fresh green pepper which was a surprise because I was expecting blackcurrant. The mint was not unpleasant at all and then came ripe strawberries. It had medium tannin and was pleasant to drink without food.
I served Artan Reserve 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon with two different meats in two different meals. The first meal was griddled venison served with a stroganoff sauce. The venison was lean and so paired well with the medium tannins in the wine. The stroganoff sauce was full of flavour. It contained butter, onion, garlic, chestnut mushrooms, smoked paprika, tomato purée, brandy, soured cream and fresh parsley. The wine stood up magnificently to all these flavours. The fresh parsley heightened the green pepper and herbaceous notes in the wine and the paprika bought out some smokiness in it. The mushrooms, butter and cream in the sauce did not reduce the smoothness of this well balanced red.
I had left the wine in the decanter over night and by the next evening it had developed blackcurrant notes on the nose, but it was still delicious. I served it with grilled lamb steak. Again, this was a very lean meat as Artan Reserve 2014 would definitely not cope with fat. I served the lamb steak with boiled long grain rice and grilled vegetables; tomatoes, yellow and green peppers, mushrooms and garlic. The wine was especially gorgeous with the grilled vegetables. There were no sauces or marinades in the food, but the wine and food were once again a great match.
I purchased Artan Reserve 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Co-op and it cost £8.99.
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