The 2011 Pennywise Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from three California wine districts, will be snapped up by those whose taste runs to lots of juicy fruit and who don't care a fig for structure. This blend of cab plus snippets of sirah and merlot is tasty, though, and a good deal at $11 or less at wine shops and elsewhere.
Big blackberry and black currant lead the way on the nose, with subtler notes of cherry and mocha, perhaps even a hint of pipe tobacco. The blackberry recedes on the tongue but the other three flavors are up front and lively. There's even a bit of sulfur-y blackstrap molasses nipping around the edges of the palate and a faint prune bass note. The prune intensifies and carries a rich, dark, intense finish.
We'd go for an assertive prep when pairing this boyish red with foods, perhaps flank steak grilled over charcoal with onions and poblano peppers.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.