2005 Santa Ema Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Maipo Valley

SKU #1045943

90 points Wine Spectator: "Muscular, with solid loam, raspberry, blackberry, fig paste and coffee notes backed by a broad, dark, toasty finish. Rock-solid. Drink now through 2010." (02/09) One of the hardest panels of people to please is our staff here at K&L. Much more difficult than approval by the fashionistas on Oscar night, harder than the judging of any of the last three Marques vs. Vasquez fights, and tougher than judging gymnastics at the Olympics, they are simply brutal. Think you have the next big thing, someone is right around the corner to shoot it down, "too edgy," "has VA," "that's not dry" all heard before you know it, and those are just some of the nice ones. If you see Jim Barr getting out his copper pipe you know you really have problems. My point is this, to my surprise everyone thought the Santa Ema "Reserve" Cab was a great deal, I heard not a single detractor in the bunch. The reason why is simple: this is just a great wine for $10 a bottle. Packed with its loam, coffee, blueberry and mocha tones, this sings as soon as the bottle is opened. No need to lay this Cab down to resolve and rough edges, it is as smooth as Barry White in a sequined jump suit. OK, maybe that is a bad example but you get my point. So try this out with your weekly burger or even your spaghetti and meatballs, just don't try and pick it apart knowing that the toughest of the tough have already tried. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

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Price: $14.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


- Located on the western coast of South America and bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes to the East, the Chilean wine-growing climate is similar to that of California's Napa Valley and Bordeaux. The Chilean wine industry is known for being consistently free of phylloxera, but political and economic unrest has brought its own source of disorder. The recent establishment of a free market has resuscitated the wine industry, and significant investments have been made, switching the economic focus from domestic production to exports. Chile produces roughly a quarter of the wine Argentina produces, and is known for single-varietal exports, predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. It's a popular region in the U.S. known for inexpensive and tasty wine.