- The Washington Times - Monday, September 8, 2003

Raymond, Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve,” Napa Valley, 2000, $30

This wine does not come cheap, but when compared with other high-class “reserve” reds from the Napa Valley, it seems a veritable bargain. Wines of comparable quality from America’s most prestigious appellation tend to carry price tags of $50 or more, with many in three digits. They may or may not be worth your hard-earned money, but at $30, this one definitely is.

Raymond Vineyard has had a somewhat inconsistent track record, as occasional excellent wines have been interspersed with many average ones. Perhaps this reserve cabernet, a truly exciting discovery, is an indication that Raymond is beginning to realize its considerable potential.

That potential comes from owning some of the most desirable vineyard land in all the Napa Valley. This particular wine comes from grapes grown in the winery’s home vineyard near St. Helena, as well as from grapes sourced from selected growers nearby. Richly perfumed, and packed with voluptuous flavor, it tastes rich, full and long. Few young cabernets made anywhere in the world are as delicious.

Befitting a reserve wine, Raymond’s 2000 cabernet has sufficient tannin and stuffing to benefit from five to 10 years of cellaring. But it is drinking wonderfully right now, so you do not have to wait to enjoy it. A perfect partner for filet mignon, rack of lamb, or flavorful hard cheeses, this is a wine to open with that special someone on a special evening in fall.

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