Wine: Festival ’34 Cabernet Sauvignon
Grapes: Cabernet sauvignon (82 percent), merlot, cabernet franc, petit sirah blend (18 percent)
Region: Central Coast, Calif.
In the glass: Festival ’34 Cabernet Sauvignon is a fairly deep ruby red in color with a semi-opaque appearance at the core, going out into a light pinkish-red rim definition and medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: There is excellent mixed red and black berry fruit at first, then crushed brambleberry, loganberry juice, cran-grape juice, vanilla, oak references and raspberry jam, with just a hint of underlying cassis bush and mineral character.
On the palate: It is a lovely rounded blast of berry fruit with dominance by raspberries, blueberries and boysenberries with a very fine structure. The wine goes into a soft, lush, fruity midpalate with still lots of berries, then minerals, cassis and aniseed hints. The finish is wonderfully supple with no obtrusive tannins and a nice, lingering blackberry and licorice finale. It is a well-made wine all around with a likable drinking style.
Odds and ends: The premise for this wine is simple: Celebrate the first vintage after the repeal of prohibition in 1933. There is a line of wines from this winery, all branded Festival ’34, but the cabernet sauvignon is the best by far, and it is incredibly priced in our market at less than $4, while online and everywhere else it seems to be more than $9. Festival ’34 Cabernet Sauvignon is a good everyday drinking wine. It might be interesting to try this with a pair of medium-rare lamb chops just tossed on the grill with salt and pepper. As it is from the decent vintage of 2006, the wine should be good to drink for about two to three years.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at email@example.com.