It seems to have been well worth our while attending the annual Dublin tasting of Californian wines. In addition to the three wines we currently list, we were happy to babysit, on behalf of the Gladiators' parent company, Hahn, a few bottles new to us. One of these was the Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon, which, inexplicably (I don't remember the reason, anyway) we failed to introduce at the same time as the Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot Noir from the range.
Laurence Veale, wine blogger and wine journalist too, visited Christopher at the Bubble Brothers stand and liked what he tasted. (From what I gather, other people at the press-and-trade-only tasting were also impressed). Here's his video analysis:
After that, we thought we should hold a tasting here at the Marina for those of us who weren't able to go to Dublin, and pleasurable it was. We don't have too many varietal Cabernets on the list, though customers often ask for them, so we paid special attention to those.
I'll leave our other discoveries for another time, but the Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon is going straight on to our list. In fact, we pulled the communication cord on an order we'd already placed, so that we could add a few cases of the Cab and introduce it to our customers as soon as possible.
The thing that struck us was the careful balance of sweet, ripe, fruit with depth and structure. It's not a difficult wine to like, but there's much more to it than blackcurrant jam, and the second glass is just as tempting as the first - it doesn't give that impression of effortful over-extraction that quickly palls. What's more, or rather less, the alcohol content is an unremarkable 13½% - downright modest by the standards of California.
I've just found out that I was mistaken in thinking I attended this fair last year. No, wasn't the year before, either. Or the year before that. This very blog says it was 2006. Just goes to show time flies when you're having fun in the wine business.
Speaking of past blasts and so on, here's young Mr Veale's report on the Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir, for those who like a bit of scandal: