By Cecil Flentge
Santa Rita Winery, Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley 2009
I like good wine. I like to save money. I love good, inexpensive wine. So when I looked in the cellar for something to go with what I call ‘Salsabury Steak’ (hamburger, Italian sausage, salsa – made into a patty) the wine right in front of me beckoned. A Santa Rita 2008, I found it scrumptious, I wanted more. But now the wine on the shelves is the 2009, would it be as good?
This estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon comes from vineyards located in Chile’s Maipo Valley, just south of Santiago. As you take in the aroma, you get a hint of smoke and cedar, then the ripe cherry laced with earthy minerality. The flavors built as I sipped with cherry, coffee, and grilled radicchio bringing depth and richness. The tannins are there but subdued by the balanced acidity and long finish where, after a few minutes, there was a definite cocoa component. I expect that this wine will improve for a year or two and hold for several more.
Widely distributed, this wine is available at HEB for $9.
With or without dinner, this wine was the ever comfortable friend that told my tongue just what it wanted to hear. The match with the richly flavored beef and pork patty was perfect. The spicy salsa took nothing away from the wine and the wine wooed a bit more fun out of dinner. Trying 2008 sent me looking; the 2009 tells me I can relax and depend on this winery. So buy a case!
Cecil Flentge is a native Texan who tours wine regions, offers wine education classes, and writes an eNewsletter about wine and food. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.