The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Zinfandel, and 2% Petite Sirah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc farmed in vineyards in the Lodi AVA in California. Lodi is located in California’s Central Valley, in the delta region of the San Pablo Bay, which is the northernmost inland region of the San Francisco Bay. Even though Lodi is inland compared to most California growing regions, the delta and the network of river valleys cool the nights and moderate daytime temperatures. Lodi is best known for Zinfandel, especially Old Vine Zinfandel, but Lodi is increasingly recognized for Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Federalist Cab (along with additional grapes) was fermented in separate lots. Even when a wine is a single varietal, the grapes are often picked from different vineyards or different sections of a vineyard. These individual sections often possess slightly different characteristics and often the lots will undergo different oak barrel treatment. So a single grape wine (in this case a mostly single grape wine) is actually a blend of many individual lots of the grape. The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 was aged in oak barrels for 15 months, 35% new barrels, the rest used. Barrels are used for 4 to 5 years before they are considered to be neutral and no longer impart oak flavoring. Something I thought was interesting is they left the juice in with the grape skins for 18 days, by contrast, we just reviewed a Rose’ that left the juice on skins for 24 to 48 hours. That is why a Cabernet Sauvignon is dark red in color and a Rose’ is pink. The alcohol content is 14%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a barely see-thru cranberry red with black highlights. The nose is ripe, fresh red berries, blackberry, cinnamon spice, black pepper, oaky vanilla, and chocolate chip cookies. This is a smooth, fruit-forward Cabernet with a really solid flavor profile, my immediate impression was, “this tastes like the expensive stuff”. It starts with extracted blackberry and black licorice, a slap of tart cranberry, and dusty chocolate powder. The mid-palate brings strawberry, orange zest, sharp spice and a late soft hit of plum. The tannins are smooth and the acidity is very good, put a steak on the grill or sip for pleasure. The finish is full and strong.
- The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent value priced Cab (about $15 in Chicago, I got it as a sample). Tons of flavor plus solid structure.
- When it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon, you most likely hear about Bordeaux or Napa and that’s fine. But that mostly pertains to restaurants and collectors. But when regular people are drinking wine (Cabernet) for no special occasions, then places like Lodi, Columbia Valley, Argentina, and Chile should come to mind.
- This is a crowd pleaser wine.