Compass Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine: Compass Cabernet Sauvignon.

Grapes: Cabernet sauvignon (82 percent), petit verdot (12 percent), merlot (6 percent)

Region: Central Coast, California

Vintage: 2009

Price: $9.99

In the glass: Compass Cabernet Sauvignon is a deeply opaque purplish-red color with a dense blackish core going out into a saturated violet-fuchsia red rim definition with high viscosity.

On the nose: The wine reveals freshly crushed bright black fruit led by currants, creme de cassis, slight mintiness coming from the petit verdot, rustic notes of cherry fruit, ground black plum skins, jammy character, exotic spices, minerals and phenolic components.

On the palate: There is nice concentration of cassis fruit with lots of creamy crushed black fruit — especially cherries and blackberries — then marionberries, huckleberry sauce, minerals and vanilla bean notes. The midpalate shows itself off with a lovely balanced play among the solid fruit, the fine acidity and the ripe tannins with underlying hints of cassis and oak. The finish is plentiful and lengthy with good amounts of fleshy fruit concentrate and herbs as well as minerals that linger on for 30-plus seconds.

Odds and ends: This is a stylish cabernet sauvignon from a fairly reputable producer, and certainly one of the great vintages of the past decade. I have always been an advocate of seeking out great little value wines from California, and with the exception of very few highly rated cabernets from Napa, there’s no reason to ever again fork out much more than $10. Anything that’s sold nowadays from California for more than $50 is not worth the money. Harsh words to some, but there are plenty of great value wines like Compass Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a really nice and well-made wine that is highly recommended and great to drink as we slowly approach the fall season. Try it with a Philly cheese steak, including all the accouterments, and drink it now through 2014.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at

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