- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beaulieu Vineyard, Napa Valley, Rutherford, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006, $27

A staple on many restaurant wine lists, Beaulieu Vineyard’s Rutherford cabernet sauvignon is also well worth drinking at home. It exhibits the deep, satisfying character that makes good Napa cabernet so appealing. And while it’s not inexpensive, many wines of comparable quality cost considerably more.

Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley, has a long history of producing top-notch, cabernet-based wines, with Beaulieu Vineyards being one of the most notable wineries there.

The best cabernets made with Rutherford grapes display both intensity and suppleness. They have an earthy, mineral-tinged undertone that enhances their more dominant dark fruit flavors. These days, the trend toward letting the ripe grapes hang long on the vines adds a sweet note that, when not taken to extremes, makes the wines even more alluring.

Though many Rutherford cabernets are fashioned for aging, this particular wine has been crafted for more near-term drinking. It certainly can be cellared for five years or so, but its supple texture and silky tannins make it exciting to drink now. That’s why restaurateurs like to feature it, and why it is such a good choice to serve to family and friends. Deep and rich, it will pair best with full-flavored foods such as roast beef or lamb.

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