- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hogue, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Columbia Valley, 2004, $30

If you are planning to serve lamb for Easter or any other springtime feast, this cabernet from Hogue would be an excellent wine to pour with it.

Top-notch cabernet and lamb in almost any form make a delicious pairing. Cab’s dark berry fruit easily holds its own with this fairly forcefully flavored meat, while the secondary nuances that distinguish any good rendition add interest and intrigue.

In some cabernets, particularly wines from Bordeaux and Chile, those nonfruit flavors tend to seem earthy, resembling leather, cedar, dried herbs and more.

In other wines, especially those from California and Australia, they tend to be sweeter, more like vanilla-tinged cocoa and dessert spice.

Cabernets from Washington state’s Columbia Valley tend to strike a balance between these two. Rich and ripe, they’re savory rather than sweet, just right for pairing with lamb.

Hogue’s 2004 reserve cabernet offers vivid currant and blackberry fruit flavors enhanced by notes that echo dark chocolate, coffee and a hint of mint. With a firm tannic backbone, it has the stuffing to age gracefully for five to 10 years, time in which the taste of fruit should fade somewhat as those other flavors come to the fore. Still, the wine is delectable right now, so there is no need to wait.

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