Expensive wine of the month 9: St. Supery Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Michael Beaulac’s tenure as winemaker at Napa Valley’s St. Supery produced sensible, intelligent wines. He had a plan, and he stuck to it, regardless of what was going on in the wine world around him.

Case in point is the 2004 cabernet sauvignon ($30, sample). It’s clean and well-made, without any of the foolishness of so many Napa cabernets — overripe fruit, over-the-top alcohol, and missing tannins. It’s fruity, of course, because it’s from Napa (black cherry, perhaps), but there is also an earthiness absent from many similar wines. In this, it’s an excellent example of the difference between the Old World and New World styles, and one I wish more California winemakers kept in mind.

This is the wine to drink with holiday prime rib or to give as a gift; and, at $30, represents a bit of a value. I hope that Beaulac, who left St. Supery this year for Pine Ridge, was able to take some of this with him.

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