When we last wrote about California's Mettler Family Vineyards it was to extol the considerable charms of the winemaker's '09 "Epicenter" Lodi Zinfandel. We've recently tasted the '11 and it is likewise a very fine zin. Today, though, we're heaping praise on the 2011 Mettler Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, which goes for about $20 at select big-box stores around Tampa Bay.
This cab is a deep garnet red in the glass, which gives the first hint of its lushness. A swirl produces a deeply aromatic bouquet of blackberry, as one would expect, but even bigger blueberry, which is a lovely surprise. Brash and lively blueberry leads on the tongue, bolstered by deep dark blackberry, accented with a bit of cinnamon and augmented by rich mocha at mid palate. Its depth is notable. The finish is a trifle more abrupt than one might expect of such a lush cab but it is clean and pure. Blueberry recedes at the finale and lets tart blackberry take the last bow.
Overall, this is a luscious, complex and deeply satisfying cab. It would be the perfect accompaniment to roast duck but it also will go beautifully with roast leg of lamb or a savory ham.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.