2003 Mankas Cabernet Sauvignon

Winery Link

Whoever said we shouldn’t be drinking red wines during the warm months of summer was greatly mistaken! I love my reds year-around and in the spirit of that bring you my take on this 2003 Cab out of California. While there’s no doubt California does Zinfandel perhaps better than any other region in the world, the other king-grape that put California on the map back in its day was the noble Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cab is still one of the most sought-after of all the bordeaux grape varieties – especially here in the USA where we love our beef and want a delicious red wine to wash it down with.

One of the pitfalls all too many California producers have fallen into with this grape is finding ways to keep it tasty and affordable. The demand on the region’s cab and the fact that there is no more room to plant grapes in Napa have really driven the cost for most of them into the stratosphere. In fact, I was just reading a popular wine forum today where folks were complaining how they couldn’t find a good Napa-area Cab for anywhere under $30.

Mankas Hills Vineyards is aiming to cut right through that stereotype with its 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon made from its own estate vineyard. Located in eastern Napa, this winery specializes in making really good, affordable wines.

Technical Data:
Vintage: 2003
Appellation: Suisun Valley, California
Release Date: September 2004
Varietal: 100% from 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown at our vineyards
Ageing: 6 months in a mix of small French, European and American oak barrels
Brix at Harvest: 26
Alcohol: 13.9%
PH: 3.4
TA (titratable acidity): 5.7 g/l
Cases Produced: 3500
Winemaker: Jef Stebben
Price: $10

Nose: Cherry, raspberry and a vinyl beanbag chair, cedar plank and saddle soap with white pepper and rose petal and cocoa puffs for days. Slight hints of charred bell pepper and a Gym locker room.

Taste: Peppered cherries, blackberry jam and dark plum. There’s a good amount of vanilla as well from the oak and cedar box. It finishes off nice w/ black cherries and plums in a very dry fashion with good tannins. The mouth-feel is a bit thinner than what some may like in their cabs and that’s because it was only on oak for 6months.

Overall Summary:
A very solid bottle of wine for only $10 – yeah, I know it says $12 on the winery’s website, however, you should easily be able to find it for $10 at retail. This would make a very good table wine and glass pour at a restaurant. It has good structure and is pretty well balanced for its price range. If you’re at all a fan of Napa-style Cabs, want a “daily drinker” than seek this wine out.

Foods to pair with:
Cedar Plank Salmon
Prime Rib

W.E.P. Scale Rating: 120%