Independence Wine & Spirits Cabernet Portfolio 2022

Plenty of trade wine tastings at this time of year. In the three-tier system in New York State, a bar or restaurant has to buy their wines and spirits from a distributor. On March 8th one of those distributors, Independence Wine & Spirits held their annual portfolio tasting.

I wasn’t familiar with this particular distributor, so I was curious to see what was in their portfolio, so I attended the tasting.

I was pleasantly surprised at what they carried. They had a huge French presence with many Burgundy, Cote du Rhone and Bordeaux brands. I even had the opportunity to sample one of the Premier Grand Cru of Bordeaux, the 2017 Chateau Lafite Rothschild which was drinking very nicely.

They also had a very nice portfolio of excellent boutique California Cabernets and I decided to focus my time sampling them.

It was a trade tasting and was held at The Metropolitan Pavillion event space at 125 West 18th Street in Manhattan.

Some of what I sampled:

2019 Adversity Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Melanson” (Atlas Peak): Opaque black, closed nose of crushed blueberries, chewy with dark mint chocolate on the fruit, long finish.

2019 Adversity Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Sage Ridge” (Napa Valley): Opaque black with a purple rim, chewy and chunky black fruit, mint notes on the fruit ending with a long, dark finish.

2019 Adversity Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Erba” (Atlas Peak): Black with a purple rim, chewy and chunky with smoky, damp earth on the black fruit, nice balance.

2018 Anakota Cabernet Sauvignon “Helena Montana” (Knights Valley): Dark red to black in color, dark leather on the nose, tight red fruit with firm tannins.

2016 Cardinale Cabernet Franc “Caladan” (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red to black with silky fruit and tannins, great balance.

2018 La Jota Vineyard Co. Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt): Opaque black with dusty, crushed black fruit on the nose with dense and chewy black fruit ending with silky, firm tannins.

2018 Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon (Diamond Mt): Opaque dark red, crushed rocks and green herbs on the nose, bright red fruit, crisp acids.

2018 Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt): Opaque dark red, closed nose of milk chocolate with chewy and dusty fruit ending with silky tannins.

2018 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Salus” (Rutherford): Medium red with tobacco and bacon fat on the nose, silky red fruit with some pickle juice notes on the finish.

2018 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (Rutherford): Clear medium red, crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy with tobacco note on the fruit, silky tannins.

2017 Taub Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Morisoli-Borges” (Rutherford): Clear medium red, dusty dried leaf on the nose, silky black fruit with silky tannins on the long finish.

2017 Taub Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper” (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red to black, sweet violets on the nose, silky with a great grip on the balanced, long finish.

2018 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder): Opaque dark red, crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy bark fruit ending with big tannins.

2018 Verité Cabernet Sauvignon “La Jolie” (Sonoma County): Dark red to black, closed nose of tar and tobacco with dense, silky and toasty fruit, firm finish.

2018 Verité Merlot “La Muse” (Sonoma County): Clear medium red, toasty nose with silky red fruit, nice balance.

2016 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley



Beringer Vineyards is an iconic winery in Napa Valley with a 144 year history.

They produce a wide range of wines from basic bottlings to high-end single vineyard and reserve wines.

This one comes from the Knights Valley appellation which is located in North-East Sonoma County.


2016 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley

88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petite Verdot. 

Opaque dark red with a purple rim, with roast meat, metal shavings, tobacco and red licorice on the nose, thick with black silky fruit with mint notes on the nicely balanced finish. 



2017 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” Napa Valley



Robert Mondavi was one of the most famous wine makers of Napa Valley. This is from their Oakville appellation series of wines which is in the heart of Napa Valley. 

The wine is a Bordeaux blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon with Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot rounding out the rest of the blend. 

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville”

Dark red to black in color with a purple rim, on the nose, notes of slate, roasted nuts and meat and crushed black fruit. Silky black fruit and tannins, and crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the fruit. A bit astringent on the long finish. Opened a couple of hours before the tasting. 




2016 Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley



Buehler Vineyards is a 4th generation run vineyard perched on a mountain East of Saint Helena in Napa Valley.

This is their entry level Cabernet Sauvignon and is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot.

2016 Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: Opaque dark red, red leather, red licorice and roast meat on the nose, silky dark red fruit of crushed rocks with crunchy tannins and green herb notes on the moderate to long finish.


Winter Wine Crawl On Long Island


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It’s that time of year, after the holiday rush when things slow down a bit including social events, but not completely this is New York City after all. I decided to spend a chilly Sunday afternoon in wine country. Usually I have a theme that guides me in tasting decisions but this time around I had none. When I got to wine country I decided on Cabernet Sauvignon.



Mattebella Vineyards  46005 Main Road, Southold

Mattebella is a small, family farm whose motto is “wine, passion, craftmanship”and who make “old world style wines” using sustainable winemaking practices. To get to the tiny tasting room you walk through a garage-sale motif yard.

NV Famiglia Red Blend: 932 cases produced, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Dark purple to black in color with slate and crushed blueberries on the nose, thick and juicy with gun-metal and  dark chocolate on the balanced fruit with soft and silky tannins.


Lenz Winery  38355 Main Road, Peconic

Lenz winery was established in 1978 making it one of the founding fathers of the industry out east, the tasting room is an old barn. They are known for their old vine Merlot but today I sampled a Cabernet Sauvignon.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate”: 2014 was an excellent year on Long Island. The wine is black in color with dark chocolate and slate on the nose, thick and chunky with moderate tannins, red cherry and slate notes on the finish, an enjoyable glass of wine.


Pellegrini Vineyards  23005 Main Road, Cutchogue

Winery with an Italian cloister design courtyard and building with a cellar and barrel room that you can take a self tour of. You sample the wines in a two-story, cherub strewn, wood-beamed tasting room.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate”: Dark red to black with a purple rim, roasted coffee and ripe red fruit on the nose, thick and chunky with ripe red leather notes on the fruit with moderate tannins and acids.


Sherwood House/Hound’s Tree Vineyards  1291 Main Road, Jamesport

Finally, a tasting room with a proper wine glass and a nice one at that. I wish that tasting rooms would realize that their wines would show better in a wine glass that wasn’t thimble sized. The cozy tasting room is in a 1870’s farm-house with a fireplace and is attached to an antique/art store so there’s always some funky artwork on the property. They serve wines from two wineries.

2016 Hound’s Tree Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark red with an amber rim, roast bacon and hazelnuts on the nose, clean, fairly neutral fruit with moderate to light tannin and acids, easy drinking.