Best Buy: Santa Rita 120 Cabernet, 2006
I found this wine on sale in my local supermarket for $6 a bottle, with a tag noting that it had received an 89 rating from W&S. Well, I don't always agree with the reviews but you seldom find wines with this high a rating in this price range so I had to give it a try.
This time I agree. Beautiful deep ruby red color, nice aroma, complex fruity flavor with nice overtones of cassis, blackberry and current. Slightly bitter finish - but not a serious flaw.
Overall, I really like this wine. It's an honest, full-bodied cabernet and should be opened and allowed to breath for at least a half hour. Although ready to drink now, I also suspect that this wine would hold up to and benefit from another year or two of aging.
I paired it with a pasta dish with grilled chicken, spinach and a parmesan cream sauce. It was a good pairing, but this wine would go best with beef or pork. Not a wine for wimps - my wife, who prefers lighter reds (merlots and carmerieres) didn't especially like it.
"Iím going to break one of the rules of the trade here. Iím going to tell you some of the secrets of improvisation. Just remember ó itís always a good idea to follow the directions exactly the first time you try a recipe. But from then on, youíre on your own." - James Beard