Badger Mountain in Washington's Columbia Valley was the state's first certified organic vineyard. Constant readers know our bias in favor of organic viticulture, but only if the grapes produce wines worth drinking. Badger Mountain's 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (about $15 at supermarkets and other markets) meets that test in spades.
This lush and lively red was fermented in stainless steel and aged 10 months in neutral French oak. No sulfites were added in the process. On the nose, it conveys the essence of dark fruits, especially blackberry, complemented by sweet baking spices and a touch of wood smoke. The winemaker's tasting notes add raspberries and cranberries to the melange, but for us the blackberry was dominant, as it is on the tongue. We tasted blackberries and baking spices with nuanced mocha and wood smoke playing off one another. Again, the winemaker tasted strawberries and cherries as well. We didn't.
The bottom line is that this is a delicious everyday table wine, well worth its price. Pair it with prime rib, garlicky leg of lamb or a medley of grilled sausages.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.