The fascination – call it a preoccupation – that so many U.S. wine drinkers have with cabernet sauvignon has always surprised the Wine Curmudgeon. Yes, there are many fine cabernets from around the world, but it’s not like cabernet produces the only quality red wine the world makes. In addition, it’s not like there is so much quality, inexpensive cabernet.
So why is it not only the most popular red wine in the U.S., but (depending on the survey) close to the most popular wine of any color?
Call it stubbornness on the part of some wine drinkers, who just aren’t sure what else is out there and aren’t sure whether they should try it. Hence, as you prepare Father’s Day, three suggestions – only one of which is cabernet (and a cabernet that not many people would think of):
• vini Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 ($8). This Bulgarian wine (yes, Bulgarian) is a tremendous value, offering berry fruit and zingy tannins. It’s riper than similarly-priced French cabernets, and not as over the top as cheap California wine. It’s about as well made as the merlot.
• Layer Cake Primitivo 2007 ($15). Primitivo is the genetic parent of zinfandel, but this is not a very zinfandel-like wine. Instead, it’s Italian in style, which means full in the mouth, not much fruit and softer tannins.
• Concannon Vineyard Petite Sirah Limited Release 2006 ($15). Solid, dependable value petite sirah from one of the world’s best petite sirah producers. More berry than plumy, and could probably stand to age a bit more.