The Santa Julia Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from sustainably farmed Estate high altitude vineyards (3,130 to 4,600 feet) located in the Uco Valley in the south-west corner of the Mendoza region of Argentina. The vineyards are on the east side of the Andes Mountains, the vineyards in Chile are on the west side. The Uco Valley is one the best locations for growing the Malbec grape, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is also a Bordeaux varietal and does equally well. This bottling is the Winemaker’s Reserve and it isn’t listed on the Santa Julia website or the importers website, it seems to be the same as Santa Julia Reserva line of wines. The label is different, while similar and the Reserva label has been around since at least the 2013 vintage, so this does not seem to be some sort of label change. Maybe it is a special bottling for a large retailer or maybe it’s exactly the same as the Reserva, the pricing seems to be the same (I found it on sale for $7.99). Assuming it is the same, this Cab Sauv was aged in French oak barrels for 10 months and the alcohol content is 13%.
The color is a dark, yet see-thru raspberry jam red with black highlights. The nose is rich and spicy, black pepper, blackberry, a whiff of smoke, mushroom, herbs, and oak spice, pretty good for a sub ten buck Cab. This is a medium-bodied, smooth, fruit-forwards, but balanced Cabernet Sauvignon. It tastes of subtle, but ripe blackberry, light spice, a touch of herbs, and plum. The mid-palate shows a little sweet blueberry, black pepper, a hint of green pepper, orange zest, and cranberry. The tannins are lurking, but don’t bite and the acidity is well-integrated. The finish is full and long.
The Santa Julia Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 is a very solid value-priced Cab, it reminds me more of Bordeaux than Napa, sleek and long more than plump and juicy. Anytime a $10 Argentinean Cabernet Sauvignon can have you name dropping Bordeaux or Napa, I think is pretty high praise. This is a wine that drinks well and pairs with all the things that Cabernet usually pairs with, steak, stew, roasts, burgers, fajitas, pizza and on and on. This is a solid wine at an excellent price.