Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2006 Cartlidge & Browne Reserve Cabernet

Every once in a while you call upon a wine to lay down a sacrifice bunt but it overachieves with a 2-run homer. And tonight's 2006 Cartlidge & Browne Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley does just that. I bought this intending to drink it as one of those 5th or 6th bottles of the evening at a large family gathering. But for whatever reason, the wine was never opened and it found its way down into the cellar. Bummed that I didn't have any Malbec on hand for tonight's devastatingly delicious grilled flank steak with chimichurri I dejectedly grabbed the C&B just to have something red to go with dinner.

But I have to say, for $17 this baby really over-delivers! Beautiful color. Nose is warm and inviting with scents of dark cherry, vanilla, sweet pipe tobacco and cedar. medium-bodied with good acidity and only moderate tannins, this probably isn't built for the long haul. But it's very enjoyable in the here and now with its sweet cherry, vanilla and bitter chocolate flavors. Bitter chocolate flavors continue on throughout the nice, long finish.

For the last twenty years, I've always thought of Cartlidge & Browne as merely a player in the California "fighting varietal" arena as I've had countless innocuous bottles of their inexpensive California appellation Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, etc. But I have to give them kudos for bringing something serious to the table with this wine.


  1. I completely agree with you - this wine rocks. In fact, I need to put this on my list of repeats - great value, great wine.

    Note to self: when you really like an under $20 bottle, buy at least 3.

  2. Thanks, Claire. Glad to know I'm not going off the deep end with this one. I have to say, this was soooo much better than the $40 bottle of '06 Buehler Estate Cab I had a few weeks ago. Not even close.

  3. Actually, FO, the cherry/vanilla/cedar flavor profile reminds me more of the Barrelli's less-heralded sibling - Gallo's Stefani Ranch Cabernet.

    I wonder what ever happened to that line-up. Does Gallo still release those as single vineyard wines? Haven't seen any since moving to K.C. They were all over Texas 15 years ago.