What could be Manlier than free Diving with killer Whales? how About cracking a Louisville Slugger in half over your head? Or wrestling a salmon from the maw of a bear would pretty alpha, if you will. But I’ll tell what is truly manly—a 100-point wine. A perfect score for a wine is utterly rare, and when a wine is given such an accolade, the experience is what masculine dreams are made of.
One hundred points for a wine means it is sheer perfection. It can’t get any better. It is perhaps the finest example of its kind. You may find this idea a bit subjective but it is the Holy Grail for many winemakers and certainly for wine drinkers the world over. Critics spend years, decades even, tasting the same wines to be able to gauge the quality level of the wine from year to year. Not only does the wine need to taste good, but it also must be age-worthy, have varietal correctness and, in every case, have a seamless quality level that shows above and beyond others in its same class. Some winemakers will tell you that ratings matter not. But when you speak to virtually any wine consumer, a 100-point rating from any critic is the most impressive badge of quality in the business. I have been quite fortunate to be able to taste, no, actually drink three diﬀerent 100-point rated wines recently. And let me tell you that each one was nothing short of an extravagant and hedonistic experience.
No other variety has received as many 100-point ratings as Cabernet Sauvignon. So it is no surprise that two of these three are Cabernet Sauvignons. Some would argue that Cabernet Sauvignon is ‘King’ of all grapes, and if price in the market has anything to say about it, the most expensive bottle produced in the U.S. is a Cabernet Sauvignon (Screaming Eagle). Th e first is the much-revered 2013 Opus One from Napa Valley. With a 100 Points rating from James Suckling, this is the first three-digit rating for the estate since its inception and well-deserved. Th e first time I tasted this wine it before it was released, and I was immediately taken aback by how sultry and velvety its structure was and is. Th e blend for the 2013 is 79 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, seven percent Cabernet Franc, six percent Merlot, six percent Petit Verdot and two percent Malbec—a truly Bordeaux-style blend. Th is most recent bottle is an absolute thing of beauty. It comes at you like a chiseled prizefighter in the ring, not with aggression but with precision and skill. Gorgeous blue and blackberries waft from the glass folded together with sweet vanilla and cocoa powder, cinnamon and clove hit your nose just before you take a sip. And in that sip lie waves of cassis, black plums, brambleberry, caramel, vanilla, toast and a hint of smoke. It is intense and full-bodied but does not feel overly heavy. Th e tannin is perfectly balanced and leaves a velvety coat on your palate while the aftertaste glows on. Th is wine will age easily for a dozen years and more.
The second is the 2013 Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon from Mt. Veeder, which received 100 Points from the Wine Advocate. Th e 100-percent pure Cabernet Sauvignon needs plenty of air. Decant this big boy at least an hour before serving. Th is wine is like a 1000bhp engine car just ready to scream down the road. It is a heavyweight puncher with big tannins but backed up with loads and loads of creamy black fruit flavors. Th ere is pomegranate, almost a hint of licorice and bitter cocoa nibs here as well. As large as this wine is, the acidity allows it to also be refreshing so you can have more than just a glass. Th is wine is so intense and seamless that it will defy time. I would not be surprised if it lasts for 30 years or more. Th is is nothing short of a WOW-wine! And it is still a baby.
The third of the trio is a very unique Cabernet Franc based blend from Sonoma County. Th e 2012 Verite ‘Le Desir’ received 100 Points the Wine Advocate. Its exact blend is 64 percent Cabernet Franc, 24 percent Merlot, eight percent Cabernet Sauvignon and four percent Malbec. I absolutely went bonkers for this wine. It has a stunning and haunting aroma of sweet fruit laced with a lightly savory note akin to sweet flowers and herbs, perhaps lavender and potpourri. Notes of wet stone, graphite, coﬀee grounds and sweet baked vanillin come next which lead into a palate that has not only fabulous flavors but a distinct energy that belies its age ability. Th e structure and weight are firm and full but never bitter or harsh. Th e complexity in this wine is truly impressive and I think it will be another 15 years before it even hits its stride.
You don’t have to walk barefoot over lava or surf a 50-foot wave to be manly. Put on your big boy pants, pull out your best decanter and red wine glasses and try a three-digit rated red wine. Pour yourself a glass and get ready for a great ride.