Fall means it's inventory time for the Wine Curmudgeon, when I go through the wine closet and try to figure out what I still have, what I need to drink, and why CellarTracker (the blog's unofficial wine inventory software) says I have a bottle of $8 Australian pinot grigio that I haven't seen in years.
That's how I found the Marlstone ($50, sample). The Big Guy was over for his regular Sunday afternoon wine visit, and we were looking for something that needed to be tasted. I rooted around, and there was the Marlstone.
I don't want to say that I was surprised it held up so well, since this kind of wine should age for eight years without too much trouble. But I guess I was surprised; my only complaint was that I didn't really notice any influence from Alexander Valley, where the grapes are grown. Otherwise, it was an excellent example of a Sonoma red Bordeaux blend (mostly cabernet sauvignon). There is lots of ripe red fruit, rich and luscious, and the 14.5 percent alcohol didn't get in the way.
The Big Guy was quite pleased, which is saying something. He isn't much of a fan of New World-style red blends like this, preferring the less fruity French style. Serve this with any fall red meat dinner, especially any kind of beef braised in wine.