Napa Valley's Joel Gott has become one of our favorite winemakers by virtue of the considerable finesse he brings to wines as dissimilar as his clean and crisp unoaked chardonnay and his luscious and feisty 2009 815 Cabernet Sauvignon, widely available at big box stores, wine shops and wine-savvy markets at prices ranging from about $13 to $17.
Gott's 2009 California cab is a blend of grapes from Napa, Mendocino, Lodi, Sonoma and Lake County vineyards, each chosen to augment the wine's complexity and depth. The strategy pays off.
This wine's nose is a bit deceptive, compounded largely of chocolate and cherry cola, which might lead one to expect a far less sophisticated palate than it actually delivers. On the tongue, the 815 blend offers a beguiling mix of blackberry, blueberry and black fig, plus just a hint of burnt sugar and spice. The finish is long and velvety, well balanced and subtle, introducing the faintest whiff of wood smoke at the finale. This range of flavors and textures yields a deeply satisfying table wine.
Pair it with rack of lamb in a mustard and bread crumb jacket or with a nice porterhouse grilled over mesquite.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.