The Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petite Verdot, and 8% Merlot sourced from vineyards in the 58% Paso Robles AVA and 42% Lodi AVA. This is a Bordeaux blend. Cycles Gladiator is a project from winemaker Adam LaZarre started in 2005. The brand is part of the Wine Hooligans’ stable of brands.
The Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 should sell from between $10 to $13 and this brand has received 20 Wine Enthusiast’s Best Buy awards.
This wine is best known for its label which was an advertisement for Gladiator Cycles and French bike, motorcycle, and car company in business from 1896 until 1920. It features a nude woman with flowing red hair flying on a bicycle. It is an excellent example of French Poster Art from that time. And this wine was famously banned in Alabama for a time since the label featured nudity.
The 2020 vintage in California will be remembered for the fires and the smoke contaminating the vineyards, but the source vineyards in Paso Robles and Lodi were spared from the damage. Other than that California vintages tend to be consistent and provide excellent grapes year in and year out.
15% of the Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 was aged in one-year-old French and American oak barrels for 15 months with the other 85% aged in neutral oak barrels. A one-year-old barrel has less oak influence to impart into the wine than a new barrel. Neutral oak barrels have given up all the oak influence they once had. WInemakers use them because a neutral barrel affects the wine differently than a stainless steel vat.
A stainless steel vat allows no air to reach the wine, a neutral oak barrel is watertight, but not completely airtight. A small amount of oxygen will seep in and that tiny amount of air will change the wine in the way the winemaker wants. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 Tasting Notes
The color is purple and is about as dark as you can get with the wine still being slightly see-thru. The nose is blackberry, toasted vanilla, spice, rich blueberry, and jammy raspberry. The Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is a pleasing soft smooth mouth-feel with ripe, balanced fruit flavors.
This Cabernet Sauvignon/Bordeaux-style blend tastes like ripe blackberry, a slap of soft spice, cold coffee, and dried strawberry. The mid-palate adds plum, tart cranberry, orange zest, a hint of cream, and pomegranate. The tannins are sweet and the acidity does its job well.
- The Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is a value-priced wine that you can trust to deliver with each vintage.
- I do not recall the packaging and the wine being this upscale. This is a solid Cabernet Sauvignon that is well worth drinking and sharing.