Dotson~Cervantes Something Red: And, Definitely Worth the Wait
We met in Mason on a Saturday in September not really knowing much more than what Alphonse Dotson told me over the phone earlier in the week. He said, “Russ, my brother, I’ve got something for you to taste. It’s something red that, you know, I feel has been worth the wait.”
As my wife and I dined on gorditas with Alphonse Dotson and his wife, Martha Cervantes, at the Sandstone Cellars wine bar, it all became more apparent.
When Alphonse flashed me the bottle, on the label, his wine announced itself saying, “Something Red. 68% Cabernet Sauvignon – 32% Merlot. Texas Hill Country – 2008.” Yes – 2008!
Dotson readily admitted, “It’s taken a little time to get this wine, our first red, to market. And, it’s also something somewhat unusual.”
The way I understood the story that unfolded during our meal, Alphonse and Marta had some delays getting their Cabernet and Merlot harvested in 2008…something related to issues with the harvester not showing up. Best I can remember, the grapes were eventually harvested somewhere around 28 Brix. Then, one fermentation turned into several fermentations, but yielded an inky black wine with north of 15 percent alcohol. They both refer to this wine being “on the edge of late harvest” as does on the wine’s label. Then, because of the uniqueness of the wine, the intended path for this wine had to change. Unfortunately, at that point, Alphonse and Martha were not as far along with their Pontotoc winery project as they expected to be. So, the wine sat in barrel and then in tank for an extended period, until this year (2014).
I will say that I had some second thoughts before tasting Dotson~Cervantes 2008 Something Red. First. I knew at the start that spicy Mexican food wasn’t going to be the best match for this “near-late-harvest-big-boy” wine. Alcohol and spicy chili is no heavenly pairing. Secondly, I know that even the best of wines can go wrong if stored in barrel or tank too long. But, as Alphonse said, “You know Russ, patience is a virtue”, right about the time when I brought the wine to my lips.
The wine vapors were immediately carried aloft with still remarkably fresh fruity characteristics of black plums, blackberries and currents. On my palate, the wine was substantial and getting even more fruity by the moment and mixing with nuances of vanilla and baking spice. But, after the next bite of pork gordita and green chili salsa, I knew this was not the heavenly match for this wine.
I said, “This wine needs a steak. A steak with nice fat content, a ribeye would be my choice. Even better, a ribeye with a nice char on it. Something that’s barely medium rare, too.”
Well, this week, I had my chance to make a proper pairing for Dotson~Cervantes Something Red. Yep, it was the steak, cooked just the way I described.
Hopefully, you can find Something Red for yourself. And, you know, I agree, patience is a virtue and this wine was definitely worth the wait.
P.S. If your able to find a bottle of this mighty fine wine, read the label. I like wine labels that tell a story. But, in true Dotson style, he gives thanks to his friends that helped him make this wine – Ed (Auler) and Sergio (Cuadra).