After a bit of a break, we're back with a new review! It's not that we haven't been drinking any wine lately; to the contrary, now that Leah's no longer pregnant, we've been drinking more wine. However, the flip-side to Leah not being pregnant is we have another child to keep an eye on, and I'll blame him for the lack of reviews lately.
Excuses aside, this evening I grabbed a bottle of Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy with our gorgonzola ravioli (courtesy of Trader Joe's) and meat sauce (courtesy of Leah's mom). I scored it for $8.99 (regularly $9.99) from our local liquor store. The shelf talker at the store mentioned oak and cedar and that was all I needed to hear.
The wine poured a pretty dark, almost blood-like color (I blame this description on recently starting to watch True Blood). The nose smelled rather oaky with hints of dark stone fruit; overall I would describe it as a "meaty" aroma, if that makes any sense.
The flavor was rather full, which I like. Up front you get a thick flavor of currants and cherries but this is quickly balanced by mouth-drying tannins and woody flavors (I can pick up the cedar since it was mentioned, but I'm not sure if I would've picked it out on my own). The finish is rather dry and peppery. It has an earthy quality that's a nice change of pace from the fruitier wines we've seemed to keep coming across lately.
I definitely like this wine as a nice red to go with heartier meals. It's full without being overbearing, and relatively complex without being crazy by any means. At $9 a bottle, it's definitely worth picking up. On the patented Chibebräu Wine scale (skip it, only if it's on sale, or buy it again), I would rate this one an only if it's on sale, though it's right on the cusp of buy it again.