Apothic Red is bold and enchanting, as it captures the dark fruit characteristics of Syrah and Zinfandel. These jammy flavors blend well with the elegant blackberry and black cherry characteristics of the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The wine is further enhanced by undertones of mocha and vanilla.
This wine typically starts life out as a young, tannic puppy, and although it has ripe flavors and a suppleness that can handle rich meats and cheeses, it's best to cellar it. This vintage is quite undeveloped, wrapped in tannic astringency, but with a hopeful core of fruit that should age well from 2008 on.
Another brilliant offering is the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve. It possesses a dense ruby/purple color along with terrific structure, lots of creme de cassis, minerality, beautiful purity of black currants and cherries, a judicious touch of oak, and a full-bodied, structural profile that is almost Bordeaux-like. This complete, rich and promising effort should be a 25-30-year wine.
Even in a $159 case, you’ve got to have a splurge red, for those welcome occasions that provide a perfect excuse to indulge in a very special wine. There aren't many California Cabernets that I would consider the equivalent of a Bordeaux classified growth, but Beaulieu Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon is one of them. It comes from the exact same vineyards as Andre Tchelistcheff's legendary Beaulieu George de Latour Reserve ($100), and tastes like it. It makes me feel like I'm drinking the best the world has to offer, and, in fact, I am.