- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Barefoot Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, 2002, $16

Barefoot Cellars, best known for inexpensive California quaffing wines, has released a stunning reserve cabernet. Though not cheap, it outperforms many prestigious California cabs that cost three or four times as much. I can’t think of a finer bargain in serious, complex red wine.

The grapes for this wine came from the Dry Creek Valley, a relatively cool region for cabernet. That helps explain why the wine, though full-bodied and rich in fruit flavor, displays such fine balance and firm structure.

Tasty now, it should age effortlessly for a good five to 10 years.

As befits a reserve wine, this cabernet received complete star treatment — hand-picking, careful sorting, aging in French oak barrels and more. You can sense all the attention in the seamless integration of elements — wood married happily with fruit, varietal character with terroir. Put simply, it tastes stellar.

Drink this impressive wine with full-flavored but direct fare — roast beef or leg of lamb, a steak or grilled portobello mushroom. It’s much more sophisticated and nuanced than you might expect.

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