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2000 Stuhlmuller Vineyards Alexander Valley Cabernet

If you ever needed proof that all those news reports about 2000 being a lousy year for red grapes in California were untrue, this is a wine to prove it. Of course, the harvest in 2000 was meagre and by all accounts lackluster, but even below average harvests in the hands of a good winemaker can turn grapes to gold. Stuhlmuller and their winemaker Kerry Damskey have created a wonderful wine. Incidentally, they make an awesome Chardonnay.

Tasting Notes:
Big and bold in the glass, this wine screams chocolate covered cherries dangled over a cedar fire. It is wonderfully round and almost sweet in the mouth (no residual sugar though -- so its all in my head) and the chocolate comes through as lovely dark cocoa. The finish is so long and smooth you want to lean back in your seat and say "aaah." I'd bet this one is good for several more years (3-5) carefully cellared.

Food Pairing:
Steak, steak, steak. I had this with a churrasco style rib-eye -- meaning lots of garlic and chives and charred bits, and even with the garlic messing with my tannins, it was a great match. Pair it with any steak, or even ribs off the grill with nice BBQ sauce.

Overall Score: 9

How much: $35

This one can be hard to find -- the only site I found in a quick search that has it online is someplace called Sterling Cellars in New York.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.