- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hahn Estates, Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast, California, 2007, $12

Red wine traditionally was primarily a dinner partner, its firm tannins and forceful character often making it

unappealing as a stand-alone drink. These days, however, thanks to winemakers who have learned how to soften the texture of their wines, more and more people are drinking reds before (or after) dinner.

For many consumers, red wines have replaced cocktails, particularly when it comes to entertaining at home.

With the holiday party season here, you’ll want to stock up on red wines that can hold their own with food while also being sufficiently approachable to enjoy on their own. This Hahn cabernet sauvignon is a good choice. Though full of dark fruit flavor, it feels supple on the palate. Unlike many contemporary California renditions, it is neither hot nor heavy, so it can do double duty with style.

Cabernet sauvignon is unarguably California’s best red grape. The top examples can be so nuanced and multilayered that they rival the best made anywhere. This wine isn’t in that rarefied company, but it offers surprising complexity given its fairly modest price. If you’re planning a holiday party, it’s well worth buying by the case.

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