As one of the numerous brands under the Gallo umbrella Turning Leaf is an often overlooked wine for those on a budget. Retail experience has shown that people who like it are raving fans and after trying a bottle I can see why. The 2010 Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon is an almost ridiculously approachable and friendly wine that pairs well with food or on its own in a mood of pensive reflection on the day.
A purplish red color in the glass the aroma rises up like a helium balloon heading to the top of a circus tent, though instead of sawdust, sweat and animal it smells like black cherry with hints of nutmeg. Fairly light bodied for a Cab, the flavor profile is a layered cherry, black currant, bitter chocolate with a tail end of spice from oak aging in the finish mixed with an ephemeral sweetness that makes me wonder about the residual sugar in this wine. There is a pleasant roundness from some malolactic fermentation that matches well with the softened tannins in a clean finish with some persistence on the front of the tongue, but strangely enough, not the back.
We tried this with pizza and frankly it was a disappointing pairing, the tomato sauce really fought this wine, but with a beef roast or basic steaks and burgers I suspect you would have a nice complement. On the other hand, I tried it on its own too and really enjoyed the experience. Finishing the bottle several days later, the fruitful life was long gone, but surprisingly the basic core flavors held up quite well.
Benefiting from the power of Gallo, Turning Leaf wine can be found almost everywhere; I even recall seeing it at a local C-Store a while back. Bottom line, it may seem tough to imagine, but there is a lot going on in this little $7 bottle of wine, for parties pick up a 1.5L for around $11 and the 2010 Turning Leaf Cabernet will make your red wine drinking guests happy too.