Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon, California 2016
This dark, inky Cab proclaims that “Meat was made for Carnivor”. Its fruit-laden nose has very light vegetal notes. Blackberry, prune and bell pepper dominate the palate and finish quickly yet smoothly with evidence of light tannins.
While the fruits are lush and delicious, the overall impression is brash, lacking in complexity, and one-dimensional.
My first thought was a comparison to the piece One Note Samba so I ask Alexa to play it. She finds the version sung by Frank Sinatra accompanied by the song’s composer, Carlos Antonio Jobim. Though the melody hangs on one note for eight bars, the contrasting intricacy and cleverness of the downward sliding chord changes played in sultry Latin rhythms is the antithesis of this wine’s musical representation.
Carnivor is as impetuous and in your face as listening to 1980’s hair-band anthem-rock while having a one-night stand. Physically satisfying for the moment but leaving you wanting for emotion and depth. I ask Alexa to play AC/DC’s Thunderstuck. The lightning speed guitar riff consisting of each note alternating with the open B string satisfies my one-note criteria. The rest of the band joins and stays based around the root B chord for about two-thirds of the song. By the time the guitar solo played over power chords shows up, you’re aching for the change. It’s a good pairing; loud, driven, stimulating, and primal.
Annabella Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Selection, Sonoma County 2016
Annabella is from the Michael Pozzan Winery, Oakville, California. The nose has beautifully balanced fruit and vegetal aromas. On the palate are flavors of plum, cherry, dried currants, chocolate, vanilla, licorice, white peppercorn, and bell pepper. The finish is medium to long with a hint of unripe fruit and slightly grippy tannins.
A pleasant, relaxing drinking experience with a small disappointment on the finish. (Maybe we drank it too soon?)
When a wine is near perfection in its balance and complexity, my musical mind goes to jazz. Annabella is harmonious with a nicely balanced nose and a small buffet on the palate, but I’m not inclined to think Manhattan Transfer. It’s more like the harmonies of the Beach Boys or Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. And not one of those multi-part, tempo-changing songs like Suite: Judy Blue Eyes or Carry On. I ask Alexa to play You Don’t Have To Cry. Great CSN harmonies and counter-melodies, interspersed with Stills’ acoustic guitar fills. The musical pairing works; a variety of voices and instruments individually calling for your attention blend seamlessly together and yet, play it simply and to the point.
What’s playing in your wine glass?