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2005 Gran Caus Tinto Reserva 

Penedes, Spain

Retail $25-$27

between the Mediterranean Sea and the Garraf Massif coastal mountain range in eastern Spain, Penedes is one the country's most significant red wine-producing regions (and also produces cava). The area enjoys warm summers, mild winters, cooling sea breezes and shallow, well-draining soils comprised of clay, limestone and chalk. Can Rafols dels Caus estate and winery is less than a mile inland with 222 acres of 30- to 35-year-old vines planted on hillside slopes at elevations of 1,300 to 1,600 feet. Organically grown, hand-harvested grapes are featured in a Bordeaux-style blend of 40 percent merlot, 35 percent cabernet Franc and 25 percent cabernet sauvignon. The wine was fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel tanks for four days. The unfiltered wine then matured for 12 months in French oak barrels and seven years in the bottle. In the glass, this medium-bodied, complex-yet-elegant wine offers aromas of herbs, plum, black fruit and a cigar box. On the palate, taste cassis, red licorice, black cherry, savory and mineral notes and smooth tannins. Decant 40 minutes before serving. Drink it with steak, aged manchego cheese, braised beef, pork shank and roasted meats. Buy it at: Pearl Wine Co., Swirl Wine Bar & Market and Philippe's Wine Cellar. Drink it at: Coquette, Doris Metropolitan and Monkey Hill Bar.

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