2009 Leese-Fitch Cabernet Sauvignon
Remove the price tag before you pour this wine: Nobody is going to believe this isn't a Cabernet in the high $20s or $30s, instead of one for $10. OK, that's a bit more than Two-Buck Chuck. But taste this one. It has the requisite deep garnet color and a lovely scent of cherries, blackberries and coffee. It's smooth and round in the mouth, tannins tucked in and soft, a lilting acidity.
Leese-Fitch is a label named for the 1836 Leese-Fitch adobe in Sonoma. But none of the grapes for this wine hails from there. Made by the Other Guys, a part of the Don Sebastiani family of wineries, the juice hails from all over California — Monterey, Paso Robles, Clarksburg, River Junction and Lodi. And it's not just a straight Cabernet Sauvignon; it includes 5% each of Syrah and Tempranillo plus a smidgen of Alicante Bouchet and Petite Syrah in the blend. If anything, this demonstrates the art of the blend in making an inexpensive wine taste like something much more expensive.
Some really good juice for $10. Just right for a good burger or anything from the barbecue — ribs, chops, steaks.
Price: About $10
What it goes with: Burgers, ribs, chops, steaks
Where to find it: Widely available