Tasting Notes: Talus Cabernet Sauvignon

I admit: I have been quite dormant in posting tasting notes.  I talk about them with family and friends as we drink the wines, but it has been a while since I have posted a piece solely on tasting notes.  It was partly because of a conscious deviation from many Wine Blogs that often simply enumerate tasting notes on the wines they feature; and they often appear mechanical, repetitive, and somewhat boring.  I also think that even if I have had many wines, I am still learning and by no means close to any of the seasoned Wine Bloggers, Somms, or Wine Professionals.  My palate and my wine knowledge is still evolving.  I think the biggest struggle, though, is that on most occasions, I don’t dissect a wine for its complex being – color, aroma, flavors, structure, etc.; and I simply rest on the impression if its delicious or not.  On most occasions, my wine impressions are affected by the experience – circumstances that lead me to the wine, the occasion and setting, and especially with whom I am drinking the wine with.

I think I will stay heavily with what I know: The stories that come with the wines, and the inevitable poetry.

Mayon Volcano Wine Companion
A bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon was not my first choice as wine companion for my first visit to the legendary Mayon Volcano in Albay, Philippines. I originally planned to bring a Riesling in anticipation of filling my mouth with the region’s typically spicy and coconut milk doused dishes. When shopping at the airport’s duty free shop1, however, I decided to pick a varietal that does not require to be chilled, for I wasn’t sure if I will have an opportunity to chill the Riesling.

I decided to get the Talus Cabernet Sauvignon, from Lodi, California2 I was excited to find Lodi wine, and I figured we could enjoy the wine after our busy day of hiking either after dinner or before catching our evening flight back to Manila.

The Wine Profile
Talus wines are made at the Woodbridge Cellars in Lodi, California. The brand is considered an “upmarket” collection of wines with grapes grown at various Lodi vineyards. The grapes are selected and monitored for quality and crafted by Jeff Kasavan, the Principal Winemaker. I thought of visiting the winery for a tour, but discovered that Woodbridge’s Talus brand is not open to the public for tours, and additionally, the wines are oddly, not available from the winery, only through retail.

This medium-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon joined me in admiring scenery that is so different from the California Wine Region from where it came from.  Its dark red color offers an appropriate prelude to its aroma of ripe cherries and black raspberries. It moves away from the high tannin structure of Napa Valley and instead delivers a more approachable body, so evidently Lodi. Hints of spice and vanilla accompanies the bright fruit that smoothly glides to an anticipating palate.

The wine was around 700 Philippine Pesos (approximately $14.oo) and could be enjoyed outdoors while admiring a beautiful volcano or indoors with or without a comparable panoramic scenery.

Food Pairing
Since this Cabernet Sauvignon is not as robust and rich in tannin as my favorite Napa Valley Cabs, it actually could have paired with some of the meat dishes we enjoyed in Legaspi City.  Although it has hints of spice in its flavor, I still think it would not have been compatible with many of the spicy dishes we enjoyed such as Bicol Express.  I still think a Riesling would have been best or a lighter red or Rose, but this Cab was a beautiful companion that I got to enjoy after the spectacular meals we had on the trip.




  1. In flying to the Philippines, I followed customs rules and only brought two wine bottles, which I had already reserved as gifts for people.
  2. Lodi Wine Country is about a half hour’s drive from my place in Downtown Sacramento. It was recognized as Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Wine Region of the Year, and was host to the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference.

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