Finally on to a red – and a delicious one at that. We hosted a California Cabernet tasting this past Friday with what I would consider a pretty solid line up – ranging from great value wines to some that are for maybe a bit more of a special occasion. The clear-cut winner in the line up was the a nice, fruit forward little $10 Cab. And why not. I’ll admit, the one thing that always bugs me a little with a category like California Cabs is that there can be a certain air of snobbery with these wines – they have to be from Napa, they must have a certain rating from a certain publication, blah….blah….etc…

Let’s be honest – was the $10 Cab my favorite option of the evening based solely on taste? No. Was the most expensive Cab we poured my personal favorite? Um…nope! For most of us out there, a good, tasty $10 wine is exactly what we are looking for. Spending $30-$40 on a wine for a Tuesday isn’t an option when you have ballet lessons to pay for, a broken furnace to fix and when you still want to indulge in your occasional Starbucks habit. Trust me – I love wine – but I also like to enjoy it pretty regularly so that’s where a great $10 value wine comes into play. Finding a really nice, very enjoyable $10 Cab is a bonus.

Now on the occasion that maybe you scored extra big savings couponing for the week, or if decide that this Friday instead of heading out for dinner where you are inevitably paying for the “experience” over the food, and you decide staying in and making your own experience is worth while, I would highly recommend this next wine – 2008 Joel Gott Pelkan Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.

This isn’t a rip your tongue off with tannins sort of Cab – although I would say it is full-bodied and rich, but not overpowering. This is one of Joel Gott’s single vineyard offerings from Pelkan Ranch in Knights Valley (Sonoma County).  The result is a  full-bodied and  lush wine with dark fruit (think ripe blackberries or even maybe some black raspberry jam), a nice balance of rich fruit and acidity and smooth, sweeter tannins. There was an elegance and drinkability to this wine that made it super approachable and delicious. At $34 it wasn’t a total bank buster. We tasted this next to the Joel Gott ‘815’ Cabernet  – also a solid selection – however the Pelkan was the showstopper.

Great wine to enjoy next to your warm, toasty fireplace over the weekend – worth cutting back on some of your regular, possibly slightly frivolous expenditures to snag this for the weekend.