Amanda Schuster

Wine and spirits writer/consultant/marketer. Spirits expert w in depth knowledge of Spanish, Portuguese and Loire/Languedoc wines (you might say "bi-spiritual.") NYC born and bred food lover. Sometime jewelry designer. Overall broad about town.

Cabbing It

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville (2009)
Comments: Fruit forward and concentrated, but just enough hit of earth to stop it from being too syrupy sweet and overly big. Dark cherries, cassis, a bit of dark chocolate, mossy notes. A great sipper on its own and lots of pairing potential.
Average price: $54.97 from 12 stores
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2 Casa Nuestra Meritage (2009)
Comments: I just want to start out by saying I don't normally go for this style of wine. At. All. But this winery changes all of my perceptions about Napa wines and New World Bordeaux blends. The oak influences are perfectly calibrated, elegant and subtle. The fruit is forward without being overpowering. Complexities keep opening up in the glass. This wine is pure joy and a wonderful surprise. I have another bottle that I'm cellaring, curious to how it will evolve, but anxious to open it!
Average price: $5.32 from 1 store
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3 Casa Nuestra Meritage (2007)
Comments: Really glad I opened this now. Shows elegant restraint. Definitely fruity, but not concentrated. The herbaceousness of the Cabs in the blend give it some balance. Very nicely done!
Previously available for $14.05
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4 Coorong Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon
Comments: This is a big boy! To say it's full bodied, well, this thing is a freakin' sumo wrestler of a wine. But the flavors are concentrated and pleasant. Chocolate, allspice, dark cherry, boysenberry, black currant, licorice, a hint of moss from the Cab. Probably great with a good short rib or beef stew dinner. Maybe ribs or a burger too.
Previously available for $40.43
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5 Cliff Creek Claret (2006)
Comments: Very lively and flavorful. Slightly toasty, but not overpowering with the vanilla notes. Tart black cherry with a decent acid balance. Great sipper on its own, but would also make a versatile food wine.
Previously available for $13.99
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6 Duck Pond Red Blend Wahluke Slope Red Blend (2009)
Comments: Deep, dark fruits with a cassis sweetness and some dark chocolate. Subtle oak with enough earth to round out the sweetness. Very sippable and I'm guessing pretty awesome at a cookout.
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