Under-$10 Wine Review: 2007 Fetzer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (California)

The Fetzer Cab is one of my mother’s favorite wines to buy for an everyday table red. It has never really stuck with me, but for under $10, many wine reviewers say it is a good buy and has some complexity. I tasted the 2007 tonight, after the wine had been open for about 24 hours at a cool room temperature, and here are my notes.

Sight: The Wine Curmudgeon writes that a cabernet should possess quality berry and cherry fruit, low alcohol, the proper amount of oak, fine tannins, and not be too over-ripe or too jammy. The Fetzer cab looks like a ruby and amethyst have been melted down, blended, and poured into my wine glass. The color is lovely, dark in the center, and fades out to the light red I would associate with a pinot noir.

Smell: The first sniff of the Fetzer is not pleasant. It screams high alcohol, and is difficult for me to smell the notes of black and red fruit that eventually choke out of the wine. The fruit it there though. I have to confess, I much more enjoy a red wine that is fruit forward, instantly charming, instantly smooth. Perhaps the Fetzer smells as most cabernets do, but from what the Wine Curmudgeon describes as an ideal cab above, the Fetzer does not smell like it is low alcohol.

Taste: The first sip of the wine throws out gentle tannins, not much sweetness, but a very peppery finish. It tastes bitter initially, but settles into a bold, fruity aftertaste that lingers for quite a while. I certainly do not mind the aftertaste, which loses much of the high alcohol that turned me off on the nose and initial taste of the wine.

The 2007 Fetzer Cabernet Sauvignon is not a wine I would purchase for a table red at my house, but I can understand why it is has received positive write-ups from reviewers and critics.

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