Just when the Wine Curmudgeon laments the influx of poorly made $15 wine, I find one that is worth $15. The Hayman & Hill is a fine introduction to what the English call claret, the French call red Bordeaux, and I call enjoyable. (California uses meritage, a term that is best left undiscussed.)
This California wine is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot, petite verdot and cabernet franc. It has some cabernet oomph, while the malbec and merlot soften the cabernet and the petite verdot and the cabernet franc add some interest. It’s not especially fruity, jammy or oaky, though the tannins aren’t quite as refined as they could be. Still, it’s a fine example of this style of wine, something that is almost impossible to find at this price.
It’s definitely a food wine; in fact, it’s not going to be nearly as enjoyable if you drink it on its own. It’s just too big. I had the Hayman with mushroom barley soup on an especially cold Dallas night, and I was surprised and pleased at the pairing. It should also complement any red meat or red sauce.