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A Rutherford Complex: Freemark’s 2019 Cabernet Bosché

May 3rd, 2024

After tasting a lot of Napa Cabernets, it becomes obvious why the ones that are simply “different” fetch big ratings (and prices).  Granted, if a top-shelf wine doesn’t work for you, it’s not worth it.

On the other hand, those who enjoy these puppies will pay the price, knowing that their real value is somewhat intangible.  And that’s what drives the top end of the market.

Examples of these distinctive wines come out every year, but real consistent performers are often difficult to single out. So many are just riding on their reputation.  Consequently, instead of simply buying what you believe are consistent performers, it is often a better choice to taste carefully and then invest.

Savor this Puppy and Pair Wisely

Of course it’s always good to share an opinion, just to help others along with their search. So, here is one standout that came up recently.  Not a total surprise, but somewhat of a “eureka” nonetheless.  And it’s made by a well-established winery in St. Helena California, Freemark Abbey.

Freemark owns a vineyard up off the Napa Valley floor in an area known as the “Rutherford Bench”. The fruit grown there produces wines that are not only rich and complex, but there are often intangible flavors. Some that defy description.  Freemark’s 2019 Cabernet Bosché is just such a creation.

Starting out with a spiced black cherry bouquet that seems simple enough at first. But after a minute of sniffing, other elements kick in.  Vanilla, windy dust, currant, and something that seems like mellow cinnamon is also there.

This one is captivating.  The structure is awesome, with fine tannins, like many Napa ’19 Cabs. But the similarity stops there. The Bosché soon mellows out and finishes in slow motion with an echo of a “deep sweet”.  By that, I don’t mean sugar; deep sweet is simply a softness that fades slowly along with its long finish.

Pairing with something like thinly sliced sautéed sirloin over arugulais a foregone conclusion. And an added word of advice, save a little wine for savoring solo later.

There will probably be mixed opinions about this one, but for those who have a fetish for complex spice pairings, look out. A barrel would not be enough.

Freemark's Bosché doesn’t appear on shelves nearly often as Freemark’s standard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (which is also superb). Note that the winery is selling the ’19 at the online store right now and the ’18 is still in distribution.

If you see a Cab Bosché on a wine list for $230 or less, and you like Cabs with a little of the “deep sweet” in them, you may want to splurge with a nice beef entrée.