“Taken”: an island drinking wine experience

Islands in northern Minnesota are great places to visit and are a complicated way to get to a simple life.

When stopping in Roseau, MN, I thought, “Why not” when looking at the most expensive wine in the liquor store.  At $38 a bottle, I knew the Trefethen and Phelps’s names would lend a certain something to this remote location and liquor store selection.  I expected something interesting to the wine, and a 90 pts rating by The Wine Enthusiast meant maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

The setting. Of course, Lake of the Woods is a wide open, magnificent place for its vastness and ruggedness.  On the colder and windy days, it calls for a big, robust red to match the temperament of the North.

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The Wine. Taken is a collaboration between two great names in wine.  I won’t bury the lede–sadly, I was underwhelmed upon opening.

With 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot from 2013, it is a big wine.  And it is young.  It’s like putting Paul Bunyon on a small puppy instead of Babe the Blue Ox.  I decanted the wine in the style that is reminiscent of “old school” (as pictured with the canning jar), but the green pepper and strong  but austere blackberry fruit stripped the wine of any elegant nuances for me that make this style so fun to drink.  It was fine for the food-it holds up to steak; however, it is not a sipper or even a relaxing wine.

I know this opinion is not going to be popular–it was like bringing an ax to a birthday cake lighting–but I, for one, wish I had taken a different wine off the shelf.  Leave it there–at least for a few years still.

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Easy like Sunday Morning-And St. Supery

Today is the unicorn fall day in Minnesota: those days that are so beautiful-crisp air, blue skies, fluffy clouds hovering over crimson, gold,  and green-leafed rainbows, verdant lawns and sunlight sure pure, it’s like its been strained through a filter for any lingering debris. But hard to believe they (these kinds of days) are real.

I took advantage of it in full force. (Side note: didn’t know my current roommate substituted real coffee with decaf. I’ve been sad all week.  I had full strength this morning, and think I could have built Hoover Dam.  Glad the day and the jolt coincided).  I first went for a run of 7.5  miles, then a bike ride around town and took in the sites against the many neighborhoods I traveled through.  (Then, I bought the new iPhone and went to Whole foods, and felt bphoto-87roke.)

The day, however, and a good wine, is something that can all of us feel rich.

This is that wine.  St. Supery, a Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Napa Valley is full of pomp and circumstance.  Or should I say plump and circumstance? It is big.

On the nose, rich cassis that feels like it was liquored in the sun,  blackberry and vanilla.  It is a potpourri of all the best a Cabernet Sauv can offer.  On the palette, it is big–and slightly drowned out by the alcohol at 14.7%, but with a little cheese and some rosemary crackers–it numbed down the alcohol and became much smoother.  The length was a good medium length and medium-full on the tannins. The fruit came out and with a little food, was nice and balanced.

I recommend no more than half a bottle–especially on a Sunday.  But if you can call in sick to work, have at it!

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