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Wine of the week

THE BALTIMORE SUN

2002 Hahn Estates Meritage, Red Table Wine, Central Coast ($20). Priced out of Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon and merlot? This Central Coast red wine, a blend of those two and other Bordeaux grapes, delivers the quality and complexity wine drinkers expect from $40 Napa reds at half the price. It offers lush black-cherry, spice and herb flavors and a satisfying finish. There are echoes of a Margaux (the French village, not the chateau) style, but the plumpness is pure California. The fruit dominates, but there's a good tannic backbone here that will ensure graceful aging. Crack a bottle now with a fine cut of beef, but you'll be happy if you put a few bottles away for five to 10 years.

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