Chono 2004 Central Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($12.00)
Very dark ruby with reddish-purple glints. Characteristic Cabernet aromas, blackcurrant and fresh herbs with a back note of dark chocolate. Medium-bodied but intense, typical varietal flavors follow the nose, built on a solid structure of acidity and soft tannins. No lightweight, but its 13.5% alcohol seems appropriate for this sturdy Cabernet. US Importer: North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, Calif., and Montecastelli Selections Ltd., NYC. (Nov 29, 2006)

FOOD MATCH: Rare steaks or lamb chops or a roast would be just right. I went for a Southwestern style match with a quick dinner based on leftover beef fajitas from a local Mexican spot, but went wrong - for the wine match, at least - when I added chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Beef, as noted, is good with Cabernet, but fiery smoky chiles are not. (Actually I knew this, but I wanted them anyway.)



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