Broad leaves, kiln fired, transmute a weed into an aromatic wonder that has conquered the world. Before it became a scourge, it was sacred to some of the world's earliest peoples. Like many such medicines, tobacco began its life as a gift from the gods, to whom it would return with messages from the living when smoked. From dark pitch to burnt caramel to sweet fruit, and always laced with wood, the smell of cured tobacco makes its way into many wines, most often thanks to wood itself. The toasted oak of a barrel can lend Cabernet, in particular, a deep note of pipe tobacco, shown best as a grace note rather than a blast of flavor. At its best, tobacco's richness marries with the darker qualities of fruit to add spice and mystery, if not a bit of nostalgia, to a glass of red. Better to drink it than to smoke it.
Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Hills of Lake County, California, USA
Andrew Will "Ciel du Cheval Vineyard" Red Blend, Red Mountain, Washington, USA
Giant Steps "Harry's Monster" Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia
Decero "Remolinos Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon, Agrelo, Mendoza, Argentina
Chateau Angelus Red Blend, St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
Shafer Vineyards Merlot, Napa, California, USA
Kanonkop "Paul Sauer" Red Wine, Simonsberg Ward, Stellenbosch, South Africa
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Warm Up: The North Fork of Long Island I'll Drink to That: Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards 2015 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 16, San Francisco I'll Drink to That: Ryan Looper of T. Edward Wines Lost Treasures in the Sierra Foothills: The Wines of Renaissance Vineyards Warm Up: The Wachau I'll Drink to That: Leo Alzinger of Weingut Alzinger Petaluma Gap Wine Tasting: August 8th, Petaluma, CA I'll Drink to That: Monica Samuels of Vine Connections Vinography Images: Cool Climate Chardonnay
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune