Carmen Nativa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Carmen Nativa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005I was meaning to blog about Waitrose’s wine sale, in which they knocked 25% off the price of every single bottle of wine on their website, but then I got so excited actually shopping on it that it never really happened. I was half-tempted to buy a bottle of 2003 Penfolds  Grange, reduced to just (just!) £112.50 a bottle, £60 less (per bottle!) that what the normally reasonable Wine Society are charging, but then I spent not much more than the price of that bottle on 18 other ones.

They must have been absolutely inundated with orders, but 48 hours later mine arrived. I’m quite excited about everything I got, which is just as well because I was starting to become a little jaded with my rapidly emptying “cellar”. Now comes the good bit: drinking it.

We start in the Maipo valley, Chile, and an interesting organic wine made using only natural, wild yeast. Wine Spectator loved it, considering it worth 91 points. “Dark and structured, with loamy tannins carrying a delicious mix of mint, tobacco, currant paste and fig sauce flavors,” they said. “Long and rich on the finish, with classic Maipo character. Drink now through 2012. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.” And mine for £4.49 a bottle. £4.49! It’s a tenner at Tanners!

I’ve never had fig sauce. Or currant paste. But I see what they’re getting at with the dried fruit, particularly fig. And the tobacco’s there, sure enough – I’m sure, and I know this doesn’t sound much like a positive, that I can taste a bit of ashtray. Strong tannins and good acidity and it absolutely reeks – pongs – of varietal character. You could name the grape variety from 15 metres. It’s a well-made wine, it looks and smells great. It just has a tinge of green, unripe, new leather to it, when you want it to be completely worn in. Maybe another year in bottle?

And apparently boffins from a Turkish university analysed a bunch of wines in 2004 for antioxidants and healthy phenols and found Nativa’s Cab Sauv to be the healthiest wine there is. It’s practically medicine.

All the same, a stonking start from my friends at Waitrose. Let’s hope they do the same promotion next year, when (given what they’re saying about the 2004) I might just get a bottle of Penfolds Grange. Someone liked the look of it, anyway – they’re sold out now.

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