1997 Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County ($18). It isn't inexpensive, but this cabernet sauvignon stacks up well against others in its price range and should be broadly available. It displays an appealing cigar box aroma, along with intense black currant, black cherry, smoked meat and mint flavors. In structure and weight, it bears a resemblance to a good Bordeaux. If you're looking for a white wine to precede this moderately complex red, Benziger's 1998 sauvignon blanc from Sonoma County is a fine value at $12.
Michael DresserTHE BALTIMORE SUN