Some cabernet sauvignons are big and impressive, with price tags to match, meant for pouring reverently into an imposingly large crystal stem and pairing with a fine aged steak or roasted saddle of venison from a high-end menu.
Then there are those I think of as hamburger cabs, and I mean that as a compliment. They're friendlier, well-structured but more fruit-forward than their refined cousins, tasty even when poured into a mason jar and much more affordable.
Humble Pie 2013 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon (about $15 at wine-savvy markets, and a bargain at that price) is a perfect example. Grapes for this 100 percent cabernet from BNA Wine Group come from several of California's cool Central Coast vineyards, and the wine is aged on French oak.
That winking name, and its accompanying adorable piecrust label, are the marketing version of a welcoming handshake.
Once this cab's in the glass, the welcome continues with aromas of cherry, raspberry, vanilla and a bracing whiff of cedar.
Humble Pie is a mouth-filling wine, rich with flavors of blackberry jam and cherry cola. That sweet side is offset by pleasing acidity and balanced with tastes of cedar and even a hint of cigar, with notes of coffee and white pepper on the finish.
As I said, this is a hamburger cab — a couple of mouthfuls of it had me wishing I had a big juicy burger on a brioche bun, topped with blue cheese and a slice of perfect tomato. Humble Pie would also play well with other comfort foods like spaghetti and meatballs or braised short ribs.
Colette Bancroft, Times staff writer