Never judge a book by its cover, or a wine by its label. The somewhat plain, non-memorable label on the Cahuin Winemaker’s 2008 Select Red gives credence to this old adage. This delightful, earthy and rich red consists of a fine blend of Sangiovese, Tempranillo, and Malbec. (The Malbec provides exceptional body, with earthy flavors including blackberries and plums.) In fact, this wine recently took home the Bronze in San Francisco's International Wine Competition in 2010. I personally would rate it 91 or 92 points, though it received an "official" rating of 90 points.
Blends such as this, when successful, are so because the balance of varietals is just right; they work together to bring out the best flavor inherent in each. This well-balanced red pairs particularly well with salads that include Thousand Island dressing, Russian dressing, and meals that may include pasta with rich sauce, pastrami, corned beef, whole potato fries, and caramelized onions. Even mushroom burgers make a nice pairing, particularly with a bit of bleu cheese is melted atop the mushroom. And, naturally, this wine goes well with a good cut of steak, like most wines from Argentina.
If, at first, you're not as taken with this wine as I, have no fear; this is one of those wines that takes time to open up. After a good 10 minutes, you'll experience this wine in all its glory. Decanting it would be an excellent plan; I like this classic decanter by Riedel and it's currently on sale for less than $40!
While it is not a wine that will call to you from the store shelf with an intriguing label, the Cahuin Winemaker’s 2008 Select Red will certainly dress up one of your meals!