The 2010 Chateau Julien Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Chateau Julien’s vineyard and from select long term contracted vineyards in Monterey, California (inside the larger Central Coast AVA). Chateau Julien is a family owned winery founded in 1982 and their winemaker, Bill Anderson, has been making the wine since the very first vintage. The Barrel Select Cabernet is well made, the grapes were fermented for a full 2 weeks with the skins in the fermentation tank, to get all that the grapes have to give. The wine was then aged in French and American oak barrels for 13 months, with the barrels being 2nd and 3rd use barrels. A new barrel imparts the most oak character to the wine, 2nd use barrels giving a little less and 3rd a little less than that and so on and so on. It is a bit of a math and chemistry problem to impart into the wine the intended amount of oak influence. This Cabernet is produced in a fruit forward style, with reduced tannins, so no cellaring is needed, it will be ready to drink when you pop the top. I found Chateau Julien selling for $8.99, it sells for $15 on Chateau Julien’s site and somewhere in between the two at wine shops. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a beautiful burgundy red, looks like the wine in magazine advertisements. The nose is blackberry, French vanilla, Nestle’s chocolate powder and spearmint. There is a very smooth mouthfeel, with bright, lush fruit flavors. It tastes of dark fruit, blackberries and plums, with an undercurrent of chocolate covered cherries and cola. The mid palate adds tart cherry and a slight tug from the tannins. The acidity is balanced and the finish lasts a fairly long time.
The Chateau Julien Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon is a honest, well made, everyday Cabernet Sauvignon. It was not all that long ago that Cabernet Sauvignon, along with Pinot Noir, was a grape that just did not deliver when made to sell for under $20. Today, all that has changed. The Chateau Julien is a very solid reasonably priced, drink it now Cab. The expensive, made to be cellared California Cabernet Sauvignons are a whole another category of wines and shouldn’t be compared to the drink it now Cabs. One is a Ferrari and the other is a Honda, but if you’re driving it work each day, the Ferrari is a pain in the ass and the Honda is a dream. The Chateau Julien Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon is an everyday dream.