What: Some people think they know a lot about wine, but no one knows everything about wine. If you like to drink wine, learning about it is a lifelong pursuit.
And when you go to buy a bottle of wine, just about every time you are making an educated guess about what you will like.
The producers of this wine say that’s what is going on throughout the wine industry. Everyone is making an educated guess. Where should we plant grapes? What varietal? When should we pick the grapes? Should we age the wine in French or American oak barrels, or in stainless steel? What label will sell the most wine?
Although there is a lot of science in making wine, there is as much art as science, and producing great art requires a lot of educated guesses.
So don’t feel too bad when you try to choose a wine and you end up flipping a coin. Of course, you can get help from your favorite wine shops. The people who work there taste a lot of wine and can steer you toward something you might like.
Reading this column is another way to learn about wine as we explore the latest trends and oldest traditions.
The best way to learn about wine is by drinking it. I have been drinking a lot of wines from Napa and Sonoma in California lately because that is the best way to help wineries there recover from the devastating fires that swept northern California last month.
Educated Guess cabernet sauvignon is a good place to start. It is a deep garnet in the glass with aggressive aromas of plum and vanilla with a touch of oak. On the palate are blackberries, cherries and spices. The wine is fruit forward with solid tannins throughout. It has a lush mouthfeel with low acidity and medium body.
This really is a fun wine to drink. It has been popular in the Augusta area for many years.
The blend is heavily cabernet sauvignon with small amounts of merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. The grapes come from some of the best vineyards in prestigious Napa Valley regions,
The wine spends 12 months on French oak, bringing all the complex flavors together and adding some nice oak notes. This wine could age for a couple of more years, but it is drinking great right now.
The label also is intriguing, filled with various formulas for making wine. You don’t have to know a lot about chemistry to enjoy the wine, but if you are interested in the formulas, you can go to the Roots Run Deep website to get a link that explains them all.
Winery: Educated Guess is made by the Roots Run Deep Winery, which is relatively new and doesn’t produce a long list of wines. What they do produce is first rate.
Owner Mark Albrecht spent 20 years in and around the wine industry before opening Roots Run Deep in 2005. Taking his experience in retail, restaurant, wholesale and supplier he brought his passion to Roots Run Deep to make affordable wines that can compete with the expensive brands.
The winery doesn’t own vineyards, but because Albrecht has good contacts with growers in Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford and Carneros he gets grapes from first-rate vineyards. Then acclaimed winemaker Barry Gnekow turns those grapes into beautiful wines. Gnekow has 30 years of winemaking experience and has pioneered techniques to enhance aromatics and flavors.
Albrecht’s philosophy is that great wines can be affordable, and he proves that vintage after vintage. I have been drinking the cab almost since the beginning, and I am amazed at the consistency and quality every year. Roots Run Deep produces wines you can count on every time.
The winery also produces Educated Guess chardonnay, merlot and pinot noir, and Hypothesis cabernet sauvignon.
They share a tasting room in south Napa with Jamieson Ranch Vineyards that is open daily.
Goes With: We had the Educated Guess cab with grilled chicken breasts, baked potatoes, peas and a salad. Even though it was a weeknight it felt like a Sunday meal. The wine had a lot to do with that feeling.
The rich fruit flavors of the wine enhanced the flavors in the juicy chicken and the butter-covered potatoes. Many people like a white wine with chicken, but sometimes a rich red such as this one adds a lot more flavor to the meal.
I try to cook the boneless, skinless breasts for just a few minutes so they don’t get dried out. I sprinkle various herbs on the chicken, depending on what catches my eye. Then I cook each breast for about 3-4 minutes on each side over medium heat. If you want barbecue sauce, you can add that on the plate. This cab also would go well with a juicy steak, lamb, venison, turkey and hard cheese.
Because of the luscious fruit flavors in the wine, it probably also would go well with thumbprint cookies, if you are of the mind to pair wine with cookies. That might be something to explore for the holidays. I’m sure Santa would rather have a nice glass of cab instead of the traditional glass of milk.