The 2010 Cycles Gladiator Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 5% Petite Sirah sourced from vineyards located in the Lodi AVA inside the Central Coast AVA of California. Cycles Gladiator is one of the labels owned by Hahn Estates, Monterey, California. Cycles Gladiator was the brand name for a French bicycle company started circa 1891 and the naked redhead on a bike label was an actual advertising poster dating back to 1895. What was perfectly acceptable for 1895 Paris was not OK for 2009 Alabama, when they banned the sale of the wine in the state due to nudity on the label. Cycle Gladiator has since painted a robe onto the girl in the poster (just for Alabama) and the wine is back on Alabama shelves and its citizens have been protected. The Lodi AVA has been growing grapes since 1850 and Lodi is the one area of California that has a climate similar to areas around the Mediterranean Sea. This Cabernet has been aged French oak barrels, 65% new barrels and the rest used barrels, a single new French oak barrel can cost over $1,000. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The color is extremely purple, it looks a big Red wine should. The nose is intense black cherry, vanilla, faint leather and a slight grassy aroma. It starts with raspberry and black Twizzlers, then chocolate covered cherries (without the candy sweetness) and then, softer blueberry. The mid palate offers up dusty Nestle’s Quik chocolate powder and cranberry. The tannins are firm, you can really sense them on the mid palate, but they stay under control. The finish is soft and subtle, but does linger for a decent amount of time.
The 2010 Cycles Gladiator Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon is an extremely solid $10 Cabernet. It checks off all the Cabernet Sauvignon boxes, the Merlot softens the wine while adding a little extra flavor, the Petite Sirah really helps add to the wonderful color of the wine and gives it a firm backbone well beyond its ten buck price tag. Pair it with red meat or pork cooked on the outdoor grill, but this is really a sipping wine. Pop the top before your teams next preseason football game and this Cabernet Sauvignon will keep things interesting well after they pull all the starters in the first ten minutes.