You will not find this wine on the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s shelves quite yet. If I remember correctly these guys brought us Rosé and Chardonnay in cans. The man behind the scenes is winemaker and master blender Phillip Zorn out of California. Years ago he wowed me with his bargain basement priced Pinot Noir under The Mandolin label.
Now California Cabernet Sauvignon only starts getting respectable at $25 and that is the starting price and littered with duds. Napa and Sonoma are simply too pricey for most wine drinkers so one has to look to either a master blender that sources great Cabernet Sauvignon throughout California or head to another less expensive AVA in California. Zorn has focused on Lodi to produce an economical Cabernet Sauvignon.
So how is the Stel+Mar 2019 Cab from Lodi?
Well on the nose classic California Cab with intense notes of blueberry, cassis and blueberry pie. Classy telltale notes of an expensive Cab from Napa and Sonoma. Lesser notes of black cherry. The nose is suggestive of a far more expensive Cab. On the palate light on the tannins so no need to cellar this to mellow the wine out. Solid beams of blueberry and black cherry on the palate. The acidity is enough to stand up to a variety of foods including beef and duck. There is a nice little smoky riff to the wine. It is soft and plush but not flabby.
I can’t say brilliant or masterfully complex but a solid and highly drinkable Cabernet Sauvignon with or without food. For musical accompaniment Chet Baker please.
Are you getting a good deal on the wine? At $17.95 for California Cabernet Sauvignon indeed you are.
Now as the label designed by Stephanie Cheng shows a label with a woman leading a dog (or is it a goat?) I have received assurances from Stel+Mar that Juniper the stolen baby goat from Riverdale Farm in Toronto is not in their Toronto headquarters willing to butt heads with wine writers that disagree with the quality of this wine!
While the residual sugars of the 10,000 cases produced, come in at 8 grams per liter it really does not convert this wine into an unnamed Millennial Cab from California.
(Stel+Mar 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi, California, bottled by Stel+Mar, Morgan Hill, California, $17.95, to be on shelves mid June 2021, 13.7%, Robert K. Stephen Set The Bar Rating 91/100)