What I’m Drinking Tonight: Ramos Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005

Nearly two years ago, I had just previously started the VintageTexas blog and wrote the following:

“North Texas Road Trip – Entry 2; San Martino Winery….. I’m back on the road heading from Tyler Texas northwest to Rockwall on the eastern outskirts of Dallas. The air is clear and crisp and the sun is in full bloom, typical of what follows a Canadian cold front into Texas. The flare for city names in East Texas is quite evident from the road signs I saw on my path with towns named: Cut and Shoot, Gunbarrel City and Frognot.

Rockwall’s identity has always been closely linked to its geology. In 1851, settlers discovered a rock wall of very large proportions buried beneath the town site. Its brick-like structure and cementaceous joints caused some to conjecture that the wall was man made by an ancient civilization. But, the question is persists….Is it?

Most noticeable as I approach the Rockwall area was the band of black soil that first attracted settlers to this region of Texaswhose for its agricultural productivity for cotton, grain crops and vegetables. Grapes, however, are not like other crops and usually prefer leaner, sandy soils for best results. According to records, early attempts at grape growing in Rockwall came in the 1870s and reached its height in the 1910s before a precipitous decline during prohibition. But, Rockwall is now entering a “new age” of wine production.”

Shortly after my arrival in Rockwall, I pulled up to Emilio and Maria Ramos’s San Martino Winery. It was quite and afternoon that involved a delightful visit with Maria and an extended tasting of wines from San Martino. The tasting was so invigorating that we both set aside our plans to attend a major Bordeaux tasting that was being held that afternoon in central Dallas.

Now….here, nearly two years later I’ve chosen to enjoy San Martino again, but this time it was induced by what came from a bottle of wine that returned home with me from that trip: Ramos Private Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005.

In summary, the Ramos Cabernet that I just savored was a big red wine with lots of fruit, oak and alcohol to give, but its all in balance. It showed a dark berry driven melange of aromas with noticeable aromatics of cedar, cinnamon and mint that had a characteristic similarity to another substantial red-soil wine that I experienced a few months ago. That one had an Aussie Coonawarra lineage: Angove’s Vineyard Select Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Ramos Cabernet was thick, rich and yet supported a silky mouthfeel. It was derived from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon from the Texas High Plains AVA. It still carried much of the ruby color and fruity richness of its youth with perhaps another half-decade to give. If only I’d not awoken it from its deep restful sleep and just let it lie in peace a while longer. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan ahead and stock a few more bottles. Drat!

However, on a more positive note, it was a good night for grilling: January and in the 70’s – at least for another day before the next big blast of cold air. As my fire was growing in intensity, my steak was marinating in a concoction of soy sauce, Wosterchestershire sauce, minced garlic and olive oil. As the steaks were finally seared on both sides, I added a cup of pecan shells to the fire and closed the lid of the BBQ where they liberated their finely scented smoke. Finally, on the table, the pairing of well marbled beef, a combination of smoke and spice, and this seriously full bodied wine was divine.

Evidently, others have sided with me on this wine. In its early days, the Ramos Private Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005 garnered multiple awards in Texas and California:

Bronze – 2008 San Francisco International Wine Competition

Silver – 2008 Lone Star International Wine Competition

Silver 2009 – Dallas Morning News International Wine Comp

Bronze – 2009 Lone Star International Wine Competition

Bronze – 2009 San Francisco Inter. Wine Competition

I think it’s time to plan another outing to visit the San Martino Winery. I hope to see you there.

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Love to taste, talk and tweet about Texas wines and where they are in the global scheme for wines. After all that's the only way they will reach the full potential.