Wine Note

2019 Frei Brothers Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

(Waitrose £19.99)

In the USA, on 5 December 1933, Prohibition was repealed. That same year Ernest and Julio Gallo founded their family business in Modesto, California.

It has now grown into the biggest wine producing company in the world with a turnover of more than $5 billion and markets products from more than 100 brands, from supermarket staples like Barefoot and Gallo Family to top estates such as Rombauer and Frei Brothers.

This wine is a classic Californian Cabernet Sauvignon, from Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. It’s not cheap at £19.99 (but it’s occasionally discounted in 25% offers and was even sold early this year in Market Harborough at just £12.99) but that’s half the price of basic Cabernets from Sonoma’s famous neighbour, Napa Valley.

The aroma is a rich balance of plum and blackcurrant and oak. The alcohol level is 14.5% and there’s plenty of intense ripe fruit on the palate. Balancing acidity (thanks to the influence of Pacific Ocean induced fog) helps to keep it fresh. 

Buy a bottle to enjoy now with a barbecue. Or hang on for those discounts and invest for the future.

John Freeland (u3a Wine Tasting Group)