Wine Wednesday: Go Big Orange! Volunteer Cabernet


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No, we're not talking about orange wines, which have recently garnered lots of attention in the wine press for reviving an old process of adding color and flavor to traditional white wines by maintaining contact with grape skins during the maceration process. Volunteer Cabernet Sauvignon is a product of Little Lion Wine Company and the BNA Wine Group. Other products in the BNA portfolio include another, more complex cabernet called "The Rule," a creamy Chardonnay they call Butternut and a line of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays under the BandWagon brand name.

Although the name of Volunteer Cabernet actually refers to the fact that the group's head winemaker Tony Leonardi has served as a volunteer fireman in St. Helena, Calif., for 10 years, the folks at BNA Wine are hoping that Tennesseans will take advantage of the name to consider this as a perfect holiday gift for your favorite University of Tennessee fan.

Considering how the football season is going so far in Knoxville, your Vol fan friends probably could use a little cheering up, or maybe this could be a nice going away present for Coach Dooley. The cabernet, which retails for about $30, is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot and then aged for 20 months in French oak to contribute hints of cherry, cranberry and toasted vanilla. Not as big or heavy-bodied as other California Cabs, Volunteer is a nice food-friendly wine that should still impress the wine snobs on your gift list.

The upraised hand on the bottle label might also represent someone volunteering to be the next coach of the Volunteers. Maybe Jon Gruden is a fan of red wine. UT fans can only hope ...


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