Cool Down Your Reds, and a Standout Cab from Martini


Matt Kramer has a fantastic column in the August 2nd issue of Wine Spectator about cooling down red wines. Of course, not all reds should be served at cellar temperature, and some do just fine at room temp. But I’ve generally found that even the most tannic wines benefit from a few degrees being taken off of them. Serve them too cool and you’ll get a mouthful of what feels like the unholy offspring of sand and a popsicle stick. But a quick 15-minute stint in the fridge is often exactly what a wine needs to minimize the impression of alcohol heat, amplify its acid, and freshen up its fruit flavors.
I note this because I recently tasted a remarkable red--the Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Rosso Vineyard” 2006--that absolutely sang after a brief time in my refrigerator. This, of course, is not the kind of wine you’d necessarily expect to benefit from this treatment, but, in fact, it’s exactly what it needed: As I’ve found with other complex bottlings of this style, a hint of chill--not too much; maybe down to a very modest 68 degrees--allows all of its layers to delineate themselves more clearly, rendering the entirety of the wine itself more complete and more--well, delicious. My tasting notes are below:
Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Rosso Vineyard” 2006, Sonoma Valley
What a warm-souled, expressive, giving nose on this wine: Imagine a chocolate-covered cigar, or a currant cobbler, or a vanilla pod toasting over an open fire. Amazing. On the palate, all this complexity works in the service of sweet fruit--blueberry, currants, and a bit of balsamic-reinforced black raspberry--as well as butterscotch, creme brulee shell, cinnamon and clove, and a subtle, almost gauze-thin whiff of sage. It’s all so giving, so beautiful, and utterly perfect right now. The tannic structure is still well present, and you could easily hold this for another five years, but the fruit is so beautiful that you might not want to wait. I know I wouldn’t if I had another bottle.