The Story of Cabernet, Or ‘Of Kings and Knaves’

May 3rd, 2013

Long long ago, in a land at the water’s edge, a clutch of peasants, tied to the land, cultivated a humble vine they called Cabernet Sauvignon. Years earlier, nobody could remember precisely when, one of the families in a nearby village had created a hybrid of the local Sauvignon (a white grape with a distinct aromatic quality) and the juicy red Cabernet. At first not everyone loved the new Cabernet Sauvignon, which retained the color and grip of Cabernet along with the herbaceous aromas of Sauvignon. Actually, it was a visiting wine merchant from across the water that first convinced them to cultivate this new grape, since he was so impressed by the resulting wine that he purchased everything he could find before sailing away, across the water and out of sight.

Everyone knew this place by its proximity to the water, and the tall ships the merchants arrived on, bringing with them hard currency and leaving again with the local wine in their holds. The villages here were at the water’s edge or en bord de l’eau in the local dialect. Over many years the place came to be called Bordeaux.

Millennia passed. When in 1855 Emperor Louis Napoleon famously unveiled his Bordeaux classification, the Chateaux that were so classified were situated on the left (or west) bank of the Garonne Estuary. While the climate and soil might vary from village to village and property to property, all of these vines were descended from those same vines the local peasants had first cultivated deep in the past. For the most part, these wines were made from Cabernet Sauvignon.

And thus was anointed the King of Wines. These great wines faithfully reflected the place they came from, what by then was known as terroir. They were graceful and complex with a hidden power. They became different, even more remarkable wines with age. They were grown and produced by people of long experience in the vineyards and cellars of the region. Those who enjoyed these wines could evoke the experience for those around them even fifty years after drinking the wine, so remarkable was the experience.

Over the succeeding 150 years Cabernet Sauvignon first colonized, then conquered, wine growing regions throughout the globe. And as such people are wont to do, the gimlet eyed captains of the wine industry declared that they must have more Cabernet Sauvignon. They were blinded by greed, and irrespective of whether the place was right, or the vines were mature, the captains demanded ever more Cabernet Sauvignon. Whereas the King of Wines had been perfected over millennia, from old vines and limited yields, these soulless new wines were but pale imitations of their worthy forebears. And thus was ushered into this world the Knave of Wines.

Enter passionate American Wine Merchant Phil Laramore. Inspired by the great Cabernet of yore, frankly depressed by the green pepper cum hoary pale berry cum sickly sweet “cabernet” of the rapacious factory wine executives, Phil decided something must be done. And thus our Cabernet program was born.

Our Cabernets bring together the essential elements that made Cabernet Sauvignon the King of Wines so long ago. We work with outstanding, unique vineyards cultivated by dedicated wine growers of long experience in their regions. Then we match their grapes up with talented artisan winemakers to craft our Cabernet Sauvignon in small lots. In this manner we create honest, delicious artisan wine for your table.

But don’t look for our Cabernet in the mega retail chains because you won’t be able to find them there. Instead, look for our wines at your local independent wine store or neighborhood restaurant.