Special Occasion Wines Worth The Price


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I’d rather buy one $30 bottle than three $10 bottles. Bargain wines can be a lot of fun, and I love tracking down good ones in the $15 range, but to truly understand the wines of a given region, yup, you have to spend some money. The $60 suggested retail for the 2010 Cenyth Proprietary Red Wine is actually very reasonable given the stunning quality of this Sonoma County red blend. (You can find it for about $50 at some retailers). I’ve been tasting through a bunch of Napa and Sonoma Cabernets and Bordeaux blends lately, and this bottle had the best quality-to-price ratio of the bunch. And it’s perfect to pop open and decant with good friends and family during one of these cold, autumn evenings. The wine has a rich but bright aromatic blend of black and red currants and tart plums, sweet cedar, red roses, dusty soil, tobacco and a dash of eucalyptus. Medium-bodied but not overpowering, the tannins provide plenty of solid structure but some fresh acid keeps the wine bright. The juicy plums and currant fruit show depth and nuance, and the fruit is matched with tobacco leaf, eucalyptus, toasted oak and sweet clove. Long finish with all sorts of nuanced flavors and, despite the bold presence, it maintains a lingering sense of elegance and freshness. I’d love to revisit this in three or four years, but enjoyable now, although a good decant would do it good. 54% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Franc and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 14 months in 30% new French oak, 13.5% alcohol. (91 points)
Isaac James Baker, Reading, Writing & Wine; Terroirist contributor  

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