Wine of the Week: Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine: Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon

Grape: Cabernet sauvignon (75 percent), syrah (15 percent), merlot (10 percent)

Region: California

Vintage: 2011

Price: $9.99

Availability: Lee’s Discount Liquors, chain stores

In the glass: Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon is a deep dense blackish- red color with an opaque core going out into a fine purplish-red to light violet rim definition with medium-high viscosity.

On the nose: There are powerfully pungent and very classic black fruit characteristics up front here with a nice basket of sweet crushed berry fruit, black ripe cherries, phenolic compounds, creme de cassis and earth-driven minerality.

On the palate: There are highly concentrated and almost chewy black currants, cherry, blackberry, marionberry jam and solid structure. The midpalate is ripe with oak-laden black fruit, licorice root and jammy berry compote, going into a very firm and almost heady finish that lingers with anise pastilles, violet drops and toasted oak for a full minute. Impressive indeed, although one is tempted to think this is actually a zinfandel-based wine.

Odds and ends: If you’re looking for a full-bodied red wine, this Carnivor is ready for you. This wine is big and bold and ready to devour more than just life; it’ll devour your palate, too, in the process, but in a good way. After tasting this, I was convinced that while the law in California for vinification states that you need a minimum of 75 percent of the grape variety to call it by that name, i.e. this is a cabernet sauvignon, so at least 75 percent of it has to be actual cabernet sauvignon, but somehow I got the feeling that this wine was testing the limitations of that rule, although I have no reason to suspect that anything untoward took place. Quite the contrary. The probable addition of both syrah and merlot in this wine makes it a very attractive, yet very powerful wine to taste and drink. I am speculating, but based on my tastings of tens of thousands of wines over the past years, would probably have me within about 3-5 percent of the actual “cepage” or blend of this wine. Either way, a highly attractive packaging combined with a highly attractive price, as well as quality in the bottle, makes this very recommendable indeed. Try this Carnivor with what it demands, which is medium-rare meat right off the grill, as it is certainly the season for it now; at least here in the western part of the country. Drink it now through 2017.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at