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Organic Cabernet takes top spot in taste-off

Northside Staff Tasters: Dana Malley, ed., David Marrano, Alice Peters, Kelley O’Neill, Jason Wentworth

A flavor profile of the 2002 Lolonis Cabernet Sauvignon (Redwood Valley), about $23, looks something like this:
• "Black pepper, mint, fruity, not too tannic."
• "A lot of fruit and spice...nicely balanced."
• "Great blend of pomegranates and berry."
• "Very ‘zinny’ palate."
• "Intensely fruity on nose and palate...nicely integrated oak."

Five tasters, five impressions. In a recent blind tasting conducted by the staff at Northside Wine & Spirits, this Cabernet proved to be the top point-getter out of 26 California Cabernet Sauvignons priced $15 to $25.

"Cover crops and leaf pulling," according to Lolonis Winery, are employed "to promote optimal vineyard conditions. Ladybugs — not chemicals — are used to combat pests." The winery further states that the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes come from organically grown vines 35 to 40 years old, and that the wine is oak-aged 14 months.

Best Value. Finishing a close second was the $13 2001 Morro Bay Cabernet Sauvignon (Central Coast), which was lauded for its black currant fruit, leather, oak nuances, and full finish. One taster noted that it was the "most like Bordeaux" of the tasting. Given the wine’s price (not within the $15-$25 realm), one might ask how it ended up in the tasting to begin with. Indeed, the staff at Northside is asking the same question.

"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 02/07/06

Northside Wine & Spirits is located at the Ithaca Shopping Plaza on Elmira Road.

Phone 607-273-7500

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