One night over the winter of 2014 my friend Ryan Sorrell, a very gifted wine artist – check out his art at Vino Mosaics, sent me a picture of a bottle of wine he was enjoying with his wife on a night out. Somehow the label reminded him of me and wanted to share it with me. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to possess the wine! Over time the wine faded to the recesses of my mind, gone from pursuit but not forgotten. One day a few months ago I came across the bottle at Central Market; my desire to try the wine was renewed. I knew Ryan and his wife enjoyed the wine and a wine clerk at Central Market told me it was one of his favorites. That was enough endorsement for me; I purchased the wine.
At the end of February we had a nasty week of winter weather (nasty by Dallas standards). Two days of ice with cancelled schools, followed by two days of the lowest temps of the season, followed by two days of 4” of snow! (I know most of you don’t measure your snow in inches but keep in mind this is Dallas!) It was the perfect weather for a hearty warm meal and a good bottle of wine; time to open my year long quest.
Scarlett Napa Valley 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine may be named Scarlett after the wineries founder’s great-granddaughter; but her color was definitely not scarlet. Instead she poured an inky black violet into the glass. After being opened for 30 minutes she was tight and hot; only time could tame this vixen. It took Ms. Scarlett 2 ½ hours to settle down and reveal her true self. She finally delivered aromas of dark fruit, spice and deep earthy Rutherford characteristics. On the palate she broodingly delivered rich flavors of blackberry jam and black plums wrapped inside tobacco, black pepper, cassis, damp underbrush, and charred oak, with hints of root beer and quintessential Rutherford dry dusty dirt. Her tight tannins relaxed over time as her acidity became rounder delivering a full body wine with a long finish that left the cassis and dirt lingering on the back of the palate. Her label read 14.9% alcohol but I believe she was 16+. Her price was $56 at Central Market, which I felt was a bit high but if you want a Rutherford Cab you have to pay for a Rutherford Cab. I would like to buy a few more bottles and lay her down for a decade or so to see how much of a lady she can become. Scarlett was a bit fiery (like all good red heads), she requires patience and nurturing, but if properly cared for Scarlett should make you very happy. 91 pts Wine Spectator. 100% single vineyard estate grown fruit; 20 months in 90% NEW French oak barrels. The 2012 received 95 pts from Robert Parker; I will try that one next and compare notes.
As I said the weather was frightful so we built a fire, watched a movie and had a delightful dinner of homemade spaghetti. I have been making spaghetti with a red sauce for so long I don’t even use a recipe. It consists of ground beef and pork, chopped onion and garlic, fresh oregano and basil, more dried herbs, bay leaf, crushed San Marzano tomatoes, tomato paste, finely chopped artichokes and anything else I may have left out. It was a hearty sauce with close to equal parts meat and sauce, not at all like a Bolognese that is much less sauce and much more meat. The wine paired very well with the thick sauce provided an even balance without either overpowering the other. We concluded the meal with rich, decadent chocolate cake that my husband brought home for my birthday a few days prior. The cake was three layers of chocolate with a rich and creamy garnache and raspberry puree inside; YUM! The wine was a truly outstanding pairing with the rich, dense, decadent cake. Many people seem to struggle with the wine/chocolate pairing. I am not one of those people! Give me good glass of red wine and anything chocolate and it is a match paired in heaven as far as I am concerned. Do you like red wine and chocolate?
McGah Family Cellars is a fully family run operation from “soil to glass.” Nestled in the fame Rutherford appellation between Oakville and the Silverado Trail, McGah produces high quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Verdot and Semillon. E.W. McGah co-owned the Oakland Raider franchise beginning in 1960 and passing the ownership down throughout the years till 2005.
From the McGah web site:
MCGAH FAMILY CELLARS is a family passion. From the vine to the table everyone involved with our brand shares our passion of making the best ultra-premium estate wine possible. Our vision is to create wine that is elegant in structure and balance and consistent in quality vintage after vintage. Our guiding principle is that making ultra-premium estate wine has always been an art driven by passion – yet we have never forgotten that wine is meant, quite simply, to be enjoyed!
I encourage you to visit the McGah web site to learn more about the winery, view their entire portfolio of wines and order yourself some Scarlett today.
My Song Selection: I felt like the song selection for this wine pairing was pretty obvious and straightforward. I mean really, what else could I chose besides a rockin, funky, electric song about a rockin, funky, electric lady!
Get your own bottle of McGah Family Cellars Scarlett Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!
14 responses to “Time Turned a Vixen into a Lady”
That label is so gorgeous!
I completely agree!
Interesting about the relationship with the Oakland Raiders. And yes, all redheads need to be fiery! It is expected of us. I love the label and can absolutely see how Ryan would think of you! I am now intrigued to find it and the Petit Verdot. (Love that as a standalone varietal)
Isn’t she lovely! I want to find the 2012! Cheers
Let’s chat soon!
That would be great. Please send me an email. Thank you!
I was drinking the Sonoma Coast Syrah at Wind Gap’s tasting room in Sebastopol when Purple Haze came on… the best wine and music match ever!!
That is awesome! And you will remember it forever! Cheers!
Belated Happy Birthday Michelle, love this review. Scarlett was a feisty and stubborn lady but you tamed her. Thats a long rest, 2+ hours holy cow. Does sound like it was well worth the wait, Really a dark and brooding wine, I like that.
Thank you Suzanne. Sometimes young Napa cabs need some open time to reveal their true selves. Ms Scarlett was one of those. Feisty redheads are usually worth the wait! 😉
I love your description. That sounds like one richly textured wine.
Thank you. It sure was but worth the wait.
I guess there’s nothing I can do about it, but whenever I hear (or read) Scarlett, my thoughts immediately go to S. Johansson… Oh well… 😉 Very nice and insightful review, Michelle.
As to chocolate (which for me must only be extremely dark chocolate, like 75%+), I am picky in my pairings and will only have it with Sella & Mosca’s Anghelu Ruju (delicious, probably my favorite pairing), a luscious Pedro Ximenez, a nicely round Rum Agricole or Zacapa 23 or even better XO, or a good, peaty Scotch (say, Lagavulin 16 or Talisker 18). Hmmmm… 🙂
[…] winemaker Mike Smith. You will recall I reviewed the 2011 Scarlett last year in my article, “Time Turned A Vixen Into a Lady.” The 2013 Scarlett was dazzling with the quintessential Rutherford dust; however, she needs more […]