Raphael NV Cabernet

Raphael Non-Vintage Cabernet

A November 2014 Hamptons Wine Club Long Island Wine Selection

This is the third of three wines — and the only red — created by winemaker Anthony Nappa that we shipped in the month of November. (We’ve already reviewed his 2013 Riesling and 2013 Sauvignon Blanc bottled under his own “Anthony Nappa” label).  The Cabernet was our primary red wine selection for the month.

We chose Raphael‘s Non-Vintage Cabernet as a nice contrast to the Osprey’s Dominion 2010 Malbec that we recently reviewed.  (Raphael is located in Peconic, right down the road from Osprey’s Dominion.)  The wine is a blend of two cabernet grapes: it is 60% cabernet franc and 40% cabernet sauvignon and was aged for 16 months in both French oak and stainless steel.  These are two of the main grapes, along with merlot, that are used in Bordeaux wines.

Cabernet franc being the predominant grape in the blend provides the contrast to Osprey’s malbec.  Cabernet franc produces wines that are lighter and brighter than either malbec or cabernet sauvignon.  Malbec tends to produce darker, denser, more tannic wines.  The addition of cabernet sauvignon to the cab franc gives the finished wine more body and backbone but is still nowhere near the density of the malbec.

In the glass the wine is a beautiful ruby red.  It has a bright, spicy nose.  We picked up some notes of raspberry and leather and maybe a little earthiness.  Not surprisingly, the aroma was much stronger on the second day it was open compared to the first.

When we tasted the wine the overwhelming (in a good way) flavor was that of cherries.  In fact, my notes say “cherry, cherry, cherry!”  The brightness on the nose was matched by the bright flavor in the mouth.  We did not find the wine at all tannic.  Nor did we find the “long earthy finish” referenced in the winemakers notes; in fact, the finish was a little short.  Rather, we found the wine to be a lighter style but very juicy and tasty.  The cabernet sauvignon provides a nice acidic backbone to the wine.

We enjoyed the wine with the same roast leg of lamb we had with the Osprey’s Dominion Malbec and both were a good match to the meat (thank God for leftovers).  You can drink this wine immediately or cellar it for a few more years.  Either way it is an easy drinking wine that is great with food.


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