Sunday, October 01, 2006

North vs South

Rutherford Ranch is a vineyard in the NAPA valley that likes to tout itself as the "best value in NAPA". And their 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon won a gold medal at some local american wine fair. Anyway, I like that kind of talk so I popped this bottle with some lamb chops and hoped for the best. Well, no major news here. It was a straightforward NAPA cabernet, nice and fruity, medium bodied, no overpowering tannins. Overall, an OK kind of wine, verging on good. Certainly nothing special, how it won a gold medal is anybody's guess (mind you, who knows how this wine fair was I've noted before, often all you need is to score a certain minimum amount and they give you a gold sticker (a minimum score may even be as low as an "85"on 100). As far as value is concerned, it's fair for a NAPA cab at about $20; again, you get what you pay for (NAPA cabs tend to be expensive).
Next up was the Catena Alamos Malbec 2005, an offering from South America (Argentina). Well, this baby blows the northern imposter away. A full bodied wine, this one whacks the palate with hard fruit and tannins, so much more substance than the Rutherford. The rating: a solid "good", my kind of wine. Value: excellent at $14. Buy a case.



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