Winery: Avensole Winery
Product/Varietal: 92% Cabernet Sauvignon + 8% Petite Sirah
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Tim Kramer
How They Describe It
This is an amazing Temecula Cabernet Sauvignon that won’t disappoint with aromas of violets and dark cherry fruit leading to a velvety finish.
This sophisticated Estate Cabernet originates from our 1986 vines planted on the ideally located south slope of the property. It is aptly named South Slope in recognition of this special portion of our vineyard which has consistently yielded some of Temecula’s finest fruit.
How I Describe It
The Avensole 2016 South Slope Cabernet Sauvignon appears clear, medium garnet. It looks, promisingly, exactly like what you’d expect from a nice Cabernet.
A beautiful perfume of blackberry, black currant, cranberry, and a bit of blueberry wafts from the glass. Violets, bell pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper join the fruit aromas. Hints of fig, leather, pipe tobacco, and turned earth point toward emerging maturity.
The Avensole 2016 South Slope Cabernet Sauvignon leads with an impressively bright fruit bouquet of black currant, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and plum flesh. Secondary flavors follow with bread dough, cloves, brioche, charred wood, chocolate, and coffee. These blend with spicy and herbaceous notes of black pepper, bell pepper, and asparagus, as well as subtle indications of maturity in leather and earth.
The 2016 South Slope is dry, with medium alcohol (13.1% ABV). The wine features deliciously balanced medium-plus tannins and medium-plus acid. Altogether, this Cabernet Sauvignon rendition features medium-plus body, medium-plus flavor intensity, and a long finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
More often than not, I ask wineries to recommend a wine to review here. What I request is a bottle which the winery is particularly proud of, which showcases their fruit quality and winemaking style.
Avensole Winery does a fairly consistent job producing great wines, so the winery staff hasn’t needed to think too hard about which wines to recommend. This time was no exception.
The Avensole 2016 South Slope Cabernet Sauvignon, as the bottle puts it, is their “premier wine and the ultimate expression of [their] winemaking.” They certainly weren’t lying.
The 2016 South Slope reminds me of fruit-forward Cabernet Sauvignon versions commonly found in appellations like Paso Robles and Alexander Valley. That’s saying something, because the Temecula Valley is decidedly less moist and more sunny than those northerly realms.
Bordeaux grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon can be challenging to grow in Southern California. Warm climates can bring out excessive vegetal notes, particularly in Cabs. Therefore, it takes finesse to craft a high-quality Cab Sauv which doesn’t need intense oak to mask flaws; it takes mastery to also make that wine ageworthy. In their 2016 South Slope Cabernet Sauvignon, Avensole did both.
When & How I Would Drink It
One of the nice things about fruit-forward Cabernet Sauvignon is its versatility. The dark red and black berry flavors, and the medium-plus body, pair well with both red meats and dark poultry proteins. Additionally, the pyrazines (what gives Cabernet its natural bell pepper notes) blend well with similar vegetables, like roasted asparagus, sautéed peppers and onions, or pickled olives.
While the Avensole 2016 South Slope Cabernet Sauvignon comes at a somewhat steep price point, it’s worth breaking out for special occasions (Thanksgiving, perhaps?). Moreover, the wine’s rarity is brag-worthy. And its flavor profile is friendly to just about any red wine drinker.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $63.95 ($51.16 for wine club members)
Cases Produced: 300 cases
Have you tried the Avensole 2016 South Slope Cabernet Sauvignon? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.