This terrific, value-priced Cabernet from Hogue Cellars was blended from 89 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 6 percent Merlot, 2 percent each Syrah and Cabernet Franc and 1 percent Malbec. Aged 19 months in two-thirds used American oak and one-third new barrels, this highly extracted, full-bodied wine exhibits aromas of ripened plum, cassis, black cherry, spice and vanilla leading into well-integrated flavors of blackberries, currants, coffee and peppery notes with firm, bold tannins and a lingering finish. It's best when decanted carefully. Drink now or cellar for 2-5 years. Match it with steak or beef short ribs, rack of lamb, game and aged cheeses. Where to buy it
: Dorignac's and Rouses in Mid-City and Metairie. Where to drink it
: Orleans Grapevine, Louis XVI and The Melting Pot. (Listings current at press time.) Brenda Maitland
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