Wonderfully pure, finely delineated, and beautifully focused on the attack, packed with black- and red-fruit preserves, sturdy and muscular, finishing with refreshing dusty-tannin backbone.
As budgets dwindle, and in some cases, evaporate, most of America’s newspapers have cut loose their most highly paid journalists. Meanwhile, at The New York Times, Eric Asimov hasn’t stood up from his desk. Why? Asimov’s column, “The Pour,” remains required reading for collectors and industry cognoscenti alike. So great is Asimov’s influence that Times readers have complained that, upon release of his “20 under $20” lists, bottles fly off the shelves too quickly for them to purchase.
In his most recent column, Asimov featured 20 under-$20 “Reds for Winter Moods and Foods.” “This is winter, a time to hunker down,” Asimov wrote. “For many, that means seeking pleasure in long, slow cooking.” Wine pairings to match the deep flavors of a beef stew or roasted lamb shank need to be carefully chosen, Asimov continued. “These foods demand staying power, and the ability to stand up to robust flavors. Yet [wines] must also fulfill the fundamental roles of providing refreshment and enhancing meals…” Then Asimov introduced Jim and Bob Varner’s 2014 Foxglove Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles.
“Bold and intense yet not at all a fruit bomb,” Asimov wrote. “It’s juicy and balanced, and will go well with steaks and chops.”
Of course, praise is nothing new for Foxglove’s Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles. Antonio Galloni called the 2013 “one of the truly great values in California Cabernet Sauvignon. Plump, juicy and beautifully layered in the glass.” But in 2014, owners Jim and Bob Varner — makers of 19 wines rated 95 to 98 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate — raised the stakes even higher. Here’s how.
Typically, the knock on Paso Robles is that the excessive summer heat gives birth to big, port-like wines that lack the definition of Napa Valley. But in 2014, the weather was incredibly even, without a major heat spike throughout the summer. Drought conditions provided ample stress for the vines, resulting in small clusters and highly concentrated berries. Mild temperatures allowed the Varner brothers to leave tiny berries on the vine until they were perfectly ripened without compromising acidity. When the grapes came in, skins were thick and colors striking — deep purple-black — with complex, mouthwatering flavors.
The 2014 Foxglove Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles is opaque purple, infused with spicy-sweet aromas of crushed blackberry and black cherry. Wonderfully pure, finely delineated, and beautifully focused on the attack, packed with black- and red-fruit preserves, sturdy and muscular, finishing with refreshing dusty-tannin backbone. As Asimov noted, perfect for a chilly winter night served up beside lamb chops cooked Pittsburgh rare. Of course, if you live in Florida or California and aren’t feeling the cold like we are, the hedonistic primary fruit and serene balance here are more than enough to knock you off your feet.
As many Times readers will have noticed, availability nationwide for Foxglove’s under-$20 stunner has already plummeted. Fortunately, we locked into our allocation before Asimov’s article hit the press. That being said, at $14.99/bottle, we don’t expect 150 cases to last much past noon. Don’t delay.
Excellent nose, replete with blackberry, a hint of cedar, a touch of tannin. Well balanced and enticing. On the tongue, it's very complex, yet without being overpowering. The berry is there, balanced by tannin. The finish is lovely, but shorter than expected: it suggests the need for another sip. I recommend following the suggestion.
This is a nice bottle of wine - it's exactly as advertised - a reasonably priced cab that is a fantastic value. I would buy it again for use with casual dining, barbecue, or any time that doesn't require a super high end bottle.
Great wine for the price. Goes really well with mac and cheese (fancy mac and cheese, that is. Not the box kind.)
The Foxglove Cabernet is a bargain and is ready to drink with plenty of fruit flavor. I wanted to have wine available to give to friends as gifts without any need to apologize. I think this wine can last another year.
Nice full-bodied cab from one of our favorite AVA's. Smooth finish which might be even better with another year of aging. Only negative is that there was a little deterioration of the cork bottoms although straining was not necessary.
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