Wine: Belle Ambiance Cabernet Sauvignon
Grapes: Cabernet sauvignon (75 percent), merlot (25 percent)
Availability: Specialty liquor and chain stores
In the glass: This is a deep blackish-red color with an opaque purplish-red colored center going out into a violet-red rim definition and medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: It exudes layers of ripe crushed black fruit with dominance by black currant, boysenberry, blueberry jam, then comes a touch of creme de cassis, vanillin from oak, earthy minerals and phenolics.
On the palate: It immediately coats the palate with black fruit characteristics, followed by cherry and cassis juices, and then ripe, firm, yet silky tannin structure with some degree of alcohol as it comes out a little “hot.” It has an excellent midpalate with loads of fruit and crushed loganberry and finishes nicely with chunks of cherry liqueur and creme de cassis. It does need to open up for about half an hour or more before consumption to give it a chance to “burn” off some of the initial alcohol, but then it reveals nice concentration and excellent potential for this price category.
Odds and ends: This is part of a new lineup of wines coming from the highly innovative and productive grape-farming and growing Delicato Family Vineyards, which is meant to invoke the Belle Ambiance — meaning beautiful spot — also found among the vineyards of the family. The Delicato Family is probably one of the biggest producers of great value for the money brands of wine in the United States, surpassed only by such huge companies as Gallo and Franzia. The family patriarch arrived in California in the 1920s. Belle Ambiance Cabernet Sauvignon manages to stay true to the original intent of the grape variety and it is a tasty morsel of a wine in the bottle. At just less than $7 and found in most wine retail stores, this is a nice wine for the outdoor spring grilling season, especially if found in the company of a medium-rare filet, served with roasted potatoes and some bearnaise sauce. Drink it now through 2017.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.