Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Juggernaut Cabernet

I have to hand it to the Bogle family: they have been making high quality, affordable wines for over 50 years now. You may have seen their Phantom label in stores, a rich red blend I have reviewed previously. Juggernaut is their latest venture, a small production division harvesting grapes from their best hillside vineyard locations in the Alexander Valley, the Sierra Foothills, and the Livermore Valley. I have talked before about how some of the best wines come from steep, hillside vineyards; but why is the wine better from these grapes?

Simply put, hillside vineyards have less access to water, and the rockier soil holds fewer nutrients, which stresses the vines, resulting in a fraction of the fruit of most vineyards. This does not sound like the most ideal conditions to grow a crop, but when it comes to wine, this is exactly what you want! The harsh environment results in fewer clusters and smaller berry size. These smaller grapes contain less water, and are loaded with intensely concentrated flavor. And another benefit of these steep, hillside vineyards? The grape skins also develop intense flavor, which lends greater complexity to the wine. That’s a winning combination!

The 2016 Juggernaut Cabernet Sauvignon is carefully made, and aged for 20 months in French oak, which explains the vanilla and licorice aroma when you pull the cork. I noticed very rich blackberry and black currant flavors, with heavy, ripe tannins (also a good thing!). This is a velvet-smooth Cabernet that really packs a punch at almost 15% alcohol. Honestly, while I like the Phantom blend, some of the other Bogle wines of late have tasted flabby to me, so my expectations were not high when I purchased this bottle. Bottom line? I was surprised how much I liked Juggernaut, and I plan to go back and stock up!


On my five-cork scale based on taste and value, the 2016 Juggernaut Cabernet Sauvignon gets a solid 4 corks! You can find it everywhere for under $20 a bottle, and often lower, which is a great value for a California Cabernet. Look for the stunning artwork on the label!

 

If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Matt the Miller’s Tavern! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!

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