The excellent 2006 Razor's Edge Cabernet Sauvignon (about $15 at wine shops) is the first release of the varietal for the up-and-coming Australian winemaker, but don't call it beginner's luck. To date, this McLaren Vale winery has produced three well-received vintages of shiraz, one of a shiraz-grenache blend and one of a nice unoaked chardonnay. They don't grow their own grapes, but somebody obviously has a good eye for production from surrounding vineyards in this prized region.
The Razor's Edge cab manages to combine silky mouthfeel and texture with a complex balance of fruit and nicely developed but subtle tannins. On the nose we enjoyed the pronounced aroma of prune asserted by a smidge of licorice. On the tongue that prune comes through again, as do flavors of dates, dried cherries, a bit of clove for spice and — ready for this? — beet root. Though young and soft, the wine finishes cleanly with a lingering hint of black tea.
What to eat with this juicy but nuanced beauty? We racked our brains before we came up with a dish as unabashedly traditional as any in the canon: Julia Child's version of boeuf bourguignon, a hearty (one of the ingredients is a 6-ounce chunk of bacon) beef stew, featuring three cups of good red wine; not cooking wine, mind you, but the stuff you'd drink with the finished dish. Being America's favorite French chef, she naturally suggested a Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St. Émilion or Burgundy, but we think our New World cab will fill the bill nicely.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.